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   Re: Looking for XLink-/TopicMaps Engines

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  • From: "Steven R. Newcomb" <srn@techno.com>
  • To: oliver.vogel@systor.com
  • Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 11:32:29 -0500

> I work in a project where we have to deal with the linkage of
> structured and unstructured data. We think about using XLink or
> TopicMaps for this purpose. Therefore we are looking for engines
> supporting XLink and/or TopicMaps. Until now we have identified X2X
> and SigmaLink from Step UK resp. Step DE. Do you know other engines?

GroveMinder permits all constructs in all kinds of information, both
structured and unstructured, to be addressable, and it supports
applications that can make all addressed constructs appear to "know"
that they are being addressed for any reason.  This means, among many
other things, that the traversal initiation anchors of hyperlinks need
not be where the hyperlinks are, and that traversal initiation can
occur from within resources that are expressed in any notation, not
just in XML.  Needless to say, this is good news for implementers of
the Topic Maps paradigm, especially when the material in which Topic
Occurrences or Subject Identity Descriptors appear are not expressed
in XML.  If the traversal initiation anchors could only appear in XML
resources, then the Topic Maps paradigm couldn't truthfully claim to
be "the GPS of the information universe."

Since GroveMinder 1.0 was released last year, GroveMinder's grove
interface has always supported Python and C++ applications that needed
access to groves.  The current version of GroveMinder (1.1) also
offers a Python interface for Minders, so that Minders can be written
in Python, as well as in C++.  A Minder is a notation processor that
creates groves from resources that are expressed in some arbitrary
notation.  (XML is just one notation.)  The grove created by a Minder
conforms to a property set designed to make the constructs found in
resources that are expressed in the given notation reliably
addressable by means of expressions that are not dependent on any
particular software implementation -- including GroveMinder.  The DTD
for expressing property sets is an ISO standard, as is the entirety of
the grove paradigm that, at the present time, only GroveMinder
implements in a generalized, industrial-strength fashion.

What is the "grove paradigm"?  Here's a succinct answer: it's about
user-definable DOMs for all notations, including but not limited to
XML.  It's about having a single convenient API for addressing all
components of all notations.  It's about re-usable software modules
that understand whole classes of resources, with all their syntactic
and semantic properties.  It's about being able to invest in the
development of expensive knowledge bases that incorporate information
addressing expressions, with the comfort of knowing that the addresses
will be expressed in an internationally standardized (ISO) fashion
that will outlast any technology, any vendor, and any vendor
consortium.  It's about the wisdom of recognizing that the value of
information often needs to endure far longer than the technology
required to understand it can endure.

GroveMinder is being installed in several major projects, and
installation is planned in several others.  Currently, most of the
installations are being done by DataChannel/ISOGEN.  GroveMinder-based
systems are up and running at Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems and at
the Texas Legislature; in both cases the systems are pretty elaborate
and GroveMinder makes much of their functionality possible and
practical for the first time.

GroveMinder was designed and built, and its development continues to
be led, by most of the same people who provided thought leadership
throughout the development of the Topic Maps paradigm and ISO standard
(1992-present) and the HyTime standard (1986-present).  The Topic Maps
paradigm illustrates a set of technical and business requirements to
which the HyTime standard is, quite literally, the only comprehensive
answer.  GroveMinder implements HyTime linking.  HyTime is the more
generalized ISO standard on which the functionality (and, to a
significant extent, the syntax) of "extended" XLink is based.


Steven R. Newcomb, President, TechnoTeacher, Inc.
srn@techno.com  http://www.techno.com  ftp.techno.com

voice: +1 972 359 8160
fax    +1 972 359 0270

405 Flagler Court
Allen Texas 75013-2821 USA

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