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   Re: The Power of Groves

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 11:25:16 +0000

At 07:25 PM 2/9/00 -0600, Len Bullard wrote:
>W. Eliot Kimber wrote:
>I am *abusing* Eliot a little here because we need to have some 
>better understandings in our community and this is an example 
>of how easy the misunderstandings perpetuate, and in the rapid 
>feedback of lists to lists to lists, amplify.

I don't think we should abuse anyone on this list - we have a common
challenge here that is very tough and we need all our resources!

In personal public gratitude to Eliot I mention just two things:
	- he took the trouble to write at length and very lucidly on this list
about "links" - it's about 2-2.5 years ago - in response to my ignorant
	- he spent ca 3 hours sitting on the floor with me at SGML Paris
explaining Architectural forms (and I am sure groves came into it as well).

Groves are hard for people like me because they are abstract. The DSSSL
standard is impenetrable to most people - there are over 70 things in the
property set. We have had this discussion on XML-DEV before and it
culminated in James Clark posting a minimal property set for XML (ca 20-30
things) and remarking (essentially to me something like "that wasn't too
difficult, was it?". *After the event* it wasn't. But no one has run with
it to the extent of making it happen.

>What we should not allow, and only by some concerted effort 
>can we stop, is to proceed in parallel efforts without 
>common definitions, particularly when these exist, and the 

>expertise to use them exists.  It is not the power of 
>groves that holds my interest; it is the way of groves.

Perhaps JamesC's posting (I am offline so cannot pinpoint it) is a starting

I do, however, recall an analysis by Henry Thompson of the complete grove
diagram of a very simple XML file with 1-2 elements types and attributes
and including a DTD and it was surprisingly complex. I don't think it was
on this list - probably XML-SIG. Groves are not trivial.

 something similar - including a 

>OASIS owns this list now.  OASIS emerged from the SGML infrastructure.  
>It has new blood and the W3C has XML but some part of 
>OASIS should honor its origins.   If OASIS wants to be 
>a force for open standards, wants to own processes, and wants, 
>even desperately needs the resources of XML DEV, then it 
>should be very cognizant of the requests from this 
>list to ensure open processes.  If the current polity 
>cannot do this, then the tools that ISO created such as 
>groves to ensure open, coherent standards should be 
>used by a more resilient community, dedicated, willing 
>and able to carry out the work unafraid of the press, 
>the whispers of powers from MIT, the incursions of 
>the powers from Silicon Valley and Redmond, unafraid 
>of anything but exhaustion.  Megginson can't carry 
>the load for SAX, but I too, like Simon, would think twice 
>about surrendering it if it goes behind closed doors. 

Nothing must go behind closed doors

>And I, like Steven and Eliot, believe we should consider 
>the tools made available, freely, openly, and by dint 
>of years of hard work.  I do not, like others, think that 
>we are making this up as we go.  SAX was done 
>here.  Xschemas were done here before they were turned 
>over to the W3C.  The existence proof refutes the 
>position that we are making this up as we go.

Agreed. This is what henry and I devoted our time to.
>Groves.  Let's keep going in this thread and see if it 
>is the jewel.

The problem for groves is marketing, and for that we need critical mass or
people, tools, tutorials and demonstrators. My problem with all of this
area (groves, hyTime, AFs) is that although I can see it is a coherent and
consistent way to do things it is a lot of effort to take on board. Part of
our problem is that XML syntax is easy - especially because of its
resemblance to HTML. The fundamental architectural problems are hidden, and
difficult. Unless there are portable tools which use these concepts and
which present a relatively coherent way forward, the Desperate XML Hacker
is going to invent their own - on the fly - and end up in the tarpits. I
agree it's a chicken and egg process.



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