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   Re: XLink - where are we? [tiny amount of frustration]

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  • From: Ralph Ferris <ralph@fsc.fujitsu.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 08:00:54 -0500

At 11:51 PM 11/10/98, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
>What sparked me off was the implication - real or not - that XLink might
>undergo yet another redraft/latency period.

All the more reason to mention HyBrick. We're not starting from square one.
We have a working implementation that should be seen as a baseline. I have,
in fact, just sent the "reconstituted" WG a very pointed message about
*not* ignoring Fujitsu and Hybrick. I have also volunteered to be an editor
for the XPointer spec., in which capacity I - as Fujitsu's representative -
will oppose any attempts to take this subject off into the wild blue yonder. 

> And also - unless I'm out of
>touch - the absence of documents to work with.

I have been thinking of posting a message with a "request for content."
These would be documents that I would include with the HyBrick
distribution. Of course, these doucments have to have
publically-distributable DTDs and DSSSL stylesheets. 

Unfortunately, though, the "traditional" DSSSL folks seem bent on ignoring
HyBrick as well. Current users write messages to the DSSSL list asking for
advice on how to output RTF from Jade, while the developers have abandoned
DSSSL altogether for the siren-song of XSL.

>We have a vicious circle here which we have to try and break:
>	- no authoring tools ==> no documents

In my view, the abandonment of DSSSL by the very experts who created it is
at least partially responsible for this. Last year at at SGML/XML '97, we
demonstrated early work on a GUI style sheet editor for DSSSL. We showed it
to some of the WKLs (Well-Known Luminaries), who said "looks cool" - and
went off to do XSL.

The problem is, what "ecological niche" does XSL occupy? For the basics -
and a lot more - you can go the XML transform to HTML/CSS route. DSSSL
supports power users. In fact, it supports basic users maybe as well as any
other method. It just that users were told they need to know Scheme to use
DSSSL, which isn't true. What is needed for style sheets is a good GUI
tool. Instead, the WKLs preferred the more intellectually interesting job
of defining yet another syntax. Given this context, we haven't presued work
on the DSSSL editor.

> As I have bemoaned before, virtually no-one is
> yet passing XML over the wire.

To keep this message relatively short, I'll just say that HyBrick does
support retrieval of XML documents over the Web; some folks have been able
to retrieve the sample document by Eliot Kimber that's on our Web site. SP,
which HyBrick runs on, doesn't support the use of proxy servers, however,
so the document is inaccessible to many others. We're looking into this,
with an eye to supporting proxy servers in the next release. That doesn't
address the general issue that your raising of course.  Hopefully, though,
it will be a start.

Best regards,

Ralph E. Ferris 
Fujitsu Software Corporation 

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