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   Re: Topic Maps on SQL

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  • From: len bullard <cbullard@hiwaay.net>
  • To: "Steven R. Newcomb" <srn@techno.com>
  • Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 22:40:54 -0600

Steven R. Newcomb wrote:
> [Kacper Nowicki:]
> > There is this deep feeling in Object Database community, that XML and
> > dynamic content in general is task for us. XML structures are easily
> > repersented as objects with links/pointers to other objects and dynamic
> > collections of their nested objects, attributes, etc.
> Yes.  Ever heard of property sets?  These provide vendor-neutral
> information set models for "groves", the abstract object/node trees
> resulting from parsing and processing data in many notations,
> including XML, and including particular semantic models such as XLinks
> and topic maps that are best regarded as inheritable information
> architectures ("architectural forms") in XML.
> Recommended reading: http://www.prescod.net/groves/shorttut
> -Steve

Quite.  But the initial question regarded a project where the 
implementation has been prototyped as a relational database.  
The tables thus far are not complex so any database implementation 
would do job currently.  However, one of the project members 
expressed an interest in using XML and potentially topic maps.  
Since the schedule is tight and members wish to present at a 
winter conference, I have suggested that they continue working 
with the relational model and inquire as to the feasibility of 
exporting topic maps at a later time.  If the topic map 
concepts are truly generalized, then exporting the properties 
and values of the relational tables, relationships, queries 
and scripting logic should enable such.  

Steve brings up the point that I do wish would be looked at 
seriously by other language communities:  the potential of 
using property set/grove concepts to create information 
standards that are independent of lexical/syntax representation 
and implementation.  As the VRML community is debating the 
concepts for the next generation of that language there 
is much discussion of a change towards context-free grammars 
and prototype based nodes (eg, the Balaguer paper).  XML 
has been cited as an example to emulate.  There exists 
an opportunity for different language communities to 
converge on common solutions.

The cycles for creating or ammending standards are long enough and
Time cannot change that.  Furthermore, the period that the W3C can be 
counted on to provide a stable base of languages given the 
current proliferation of consortia and interests is passing. If there 
is an opportunity to put the web language standards on common ground 
and open up the technical frameworks for a more competitive 
development environment, it should not pass without serious

Len Bullard

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