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   Re: [xml-dev] RDDL (was RE: [xml-dev] Negotiate Out The Noise)

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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>

> From: Paul T [mailto:pault12@pacbell.net]
> >I imagine people writing A HREFs before the
> >first HTML browser would exist. How would
> >we call them? Religious fanatics, I guess.
> Ummm... we called them hypertext experts. 
> They were also called in some circles and 
> some agencies, "the lunatic left wing 
> fringe of SGML".  And so they were. Hey, 
> didja ever see deRose or Bosak on a bad 
> day?  Big hair... Clark always looked clean but he 
> is British.  I suspect he is also crazy 
> deep inside but that natural British 
> reserve hides it most of the time until 
> an atavism bursts out and he decides its 
> time to get out his knife. :-)  Me, nuts to the 
> core, but everyone knows it as soon as they 
> meet me.  Something about the hair....

;-) Honestly, when I was writing the sentence 
above, I clearly understood how can one 'feel' 
the future of A HREF, because if just thinking 
about the 'linked' documents (or any 'linked data' 
for that matter)  anyone would get a clear 
understanding  that there should be some way 
to link one place with another so even there 
would be no actual system, *implementing* 
the linking, one can start placing A HREFs into 
the the picture ( and into the documents ) , 
because 'earlier or later they would be used'.

In the same sense, RDDL is 'right' that: 

'there should be some way
to share the 'semantics' of 'some tag' 
( or 'namespace' ) on the web'

And also RDDL is right that URLs 
should be involved ( how else can it be, 
it is the Web ;-) 

But there is a lot of other problems 
if thinking about this possible 'semantics linking'. 
Caching, certification, distribution, e t.c.
I've spent one year thinking and I think that 
it would take years to get it right. Simple 
things are complex .

And ( most important ) all this stuff would not 
fly until somebody would try implementing a 
real-life project with that. Creating tools for the 
sake of  creating tools is a plain scientific 

The 'phonebook' was a 'killer application'
for the web. What is the 'killer application'
for RDDL? 

> Anchor tags have been around since waaaay 
> before HTML, even SGML.  The HyTimers took a shot 
> at standardizing them into clinks, but 
> were denied by a goal line stand.  And 
> because at that time, the real issues of
> associating semantics were badly enunciated.

I'm not questioning this. I never thought that 
TBL invented A HREF. His book says that 
he had not invented things, but he just 
spent years trying to explain his ideas 
to experts  ;-)

I belive that Weaving the Web is a honest book. 
> >WWW has been started when TBL tried to solve
> >a *particular* task. Not with the holy sacrifice.
> >The detailes are in the Book "Weaving the Web".
> No offense, but the problems of markup had been 
> solved by that time.  

Yes. No contradiction. The two core things
TBL had/did  are :

1. A desire to write a 'shared phonebook'.
2. Good taste.

That's it. 

> He added HTTP so a URL would have an 
> implemented semantic.  That's a  good thing.  

My point is that he had a particular task to solve ; 
"shared phonebook".  Not to 'add HTTP to URL'.
Not 'Take a subset of SGML and cal it HTML'

Some *particular* task.

When there is a task, then you either grab existing 
tool or write the missing one. What is the *task*
for RDDL?  

See - again instead of *first* seeing the *task*, that we 
want to solve and *then* writing / desiging  RDDL 
as a tool to solve the *task* it goes other way 
around : "put something on the end of namespace 
URI and then try to do something with this apparatus". 
That's why I call RDDL scientific. ( below I explain 
why I call it political )

Those, who now try telling  that 'RDDL 
could be used for this or that' may be 
'correct', but the truth is ( and always will be )
that it is what they tell *now*, after  RDDL
has been 'created'  already. There was no 
( and I think there still *is* no ) clear task 
for which  RDDL is a 'right tool'. 

> But do any systems actually negotiate 
> the meaning of <a href= anymore?  If we still 
> used clinks, they could but I don't think anyone will. 
> If they use a URN they might have to, but gad....
> So when it came time to burn a goat, TimBL burned ISO 
> so the heathen masses would be satisfied.  Like, 
> somebody had to be the loser, right?  We need blood.  
> Our gods just aren't satisfied with vegetable fritters.

I agree that there is a sad truth in your words. 
However,  I belive that the most important thing that 
TBL has done was an understanding that he wants to 
implement a  'shared phonebook'.  All that stuff with 
ISO / W3C it is all politics and is not relevant. 

Some guy wants to play space wars 
on a computer that has no OS - and 
we have C and then UNIX.
Some guy wants a 'better language to write 
some system his boss asked him to write' - 
and that results in perl. Some guy wants 
UNIX to run on his cheap PC at home - 
and we have Linux. Some guy wants to 
use a shared phonebook - and we have the Web.  

I'm sure there was some particular application 
for markup. For example, I remember the early 
days of PC, when computers had a dumb text 
screen, but already got some graphical printers.

That would be a *very* natural thing  to start 
embedding some special charactes into 
text file for getting 'different fonts' on the printer.
I'm almost sure that  MLs has started when 
some guy wanted to find some way to print 
nice looking documents on his printer, but 
still use the text mode to type the text.
Or there was something else, like that, 
but  that was :

1. Simple.
2. Practical responce to some real-life problem.

In the healthy situation, problem *always* comes 
*before* the solution. 

Who is the guy who wanted RDDL for something 
and what was that 'something' ?  My answer is :

'something' was a 'political discussion about namespaces',
because it *was* political discussion where I asked to 
close the loophole in namespaces spec until it is too 
late and XML namespaces would become just a nice 
'plugin for MS Office'.

Solution to this 'problem'  was RDDL. RDDL was a 
plain political act, because it was solving a plain 
political problem with namespaces.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but 
people should be consistent and they should not 
try attaching technical value to something, which is a 
solution for political problem. Of course they may 
not understand what they actually did or do, 
but it does not matter. We're fearless sceintists, 
searching for the truth. The sentiments are not 
for us. 

> > > No more letters from me on RDDL.  Some people
> > > use it. This is fine, but when I've used the word RDDL,
> > > I was *not* talking about current RDDL ( neither was
> > > Len talking about current RDF, I think ), I'm very sorry
> > > to use the RDDL buzzword and I would try never use
> > > it again.
> len was talking about the problems of discovery of 
> semantics given raw markup (no schema, no n number 
> of definition languages) and said that can be a 
> negotiation process.  One may have to negotiate 
> the technology for the negotiation too.  Long ago, 
> such things were discussed in hypermedia theory 
> circles, AI circles, etc.   Where I agree with 
> you is that for a particular semantic, rendering 
> and clicking on an anchor, solutions such as 
> HTML and maybe RDDL cut the Gordian knot and 
> say "just do it this way".  That is moreorless 
> the "dominate the semantic:  my way or the highway" 
> answer.  It is good enough for rendering and light 
> location processes.

Dear Len. Perhaps you can save us ? ;-)  

You know ... - perhaps in those discussions there 
was some crazy guy who was trying to convice 
'AI circles' and other senior and serious people ;-)
to implement some crazy, but very simple 
application for him? 

Perhaps, the key is already here, we just don't 
see it?

All we need is something as simple as 
"shared phonebook" but ... a bit ...  different .... ;-)

The price for this question is several billion 
dollars ;-) And a couple of years, of course.

Sometimes I wonder for how long can a 
human being tolerate living in this 'markup' universe ;-) 
Looks like a crazy place, comparing to many 
other mailing lists ;-)



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