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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: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 19:06:42 +0000

At 12:50 AM 2/11/00 -0600, Steve Schafer wrote:
>Where I'm coming from:
>Unlike Peter and probably most of the others participating in this
>discussion, I'm actually very comfortable discussing all of this in
>abstract terms. (Perhaps it's because I'm a physicist by training--I
>don't know.) And I do strongly feel that looking at the abstract
>picture is the way to understand precisely where any deficiencies may

Excellent. We need more people like you! 

>We need to make this stuff accessbile, but first we need to make it
>work. I'm an experienced software developer; I've written parsers,
>interpreters, sophisticated text and graphics rendering engines, etc.
>Complex modeling and programming issues don't scare me. What scares me
>is the possibility that I'm going to embark on a major journey using
>groves as a fundamental data abstraction for a very large project, and
>then a year from now I'm going to hit a brick wall because of some
>unforeseen deficiency.

What we also need is a critical mass of people who believe enough to make
it happen - by writing systems that are abstract enough and generic enough
and useful enough that they self-replicate. Eliot tried very hard to
respond to this by writing Phyllis. I believe in Eliot's vision (and his
co-believers). But until there is a tool which solves a sufficient number
of my problems quickly, I will probably flounder along by writing ad hoc
solutions for each problem.

To take an example - I have written a set of Java classes to support a DOM
in CML. I was surprised how much effort it was. I found myself writing a
class for each element and an interface for each attribute. [Note, these
classes often have to do chemistry things, so *some* code has to be
written.] But I felt that there was a lot of coding that should have been
automatic from the DTD [I know that there are Beanmaker approaches to this
but they didn't quite seem to fit.] When Schemas are finalised I am sure we
shall need this sort of stuff routinely. At that time we need a fairly
small number of approaches so that we can make the investment to learn the
technology - like we have for SAX and DOM.



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