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   Better Frameworks (WAS: RE: [xml-dev] Being "precise" vs being "human")

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As for the document as the centric model, maybe.  For 
hypermedia in general, maybe not.  

Hypertext was never more than embedding a link 
control inside the text itself.   The rest of the thingies are 
bits and pieces from other technologies.  I look at XForms 
and remember the firestorm of critique over the US Navy 
MID design from the HTML community that was pretty darned 
clueless about why such designs were sponsored and I think, 
it's just timing and requirements.  XForms takes the same 
tack, adds web spaces, and voila, MID lives.  Most of what 
I see today is a recycling of ideas either copied or rediscovered 
and implemented over the web substrate.  In that sense, 
the web has succeeded in providing an infrastructure and 
the only question is will the middle hold once the retooling 
of the lower layers gets into high gear.

Web services are not exactly a new idea, but when implemented 
in a decent framework, are an advance.  They also present a 
dilemma in that with them, the local IT department that was 
being relegated to the waste bin of non-essential personnel 
suddenly gets a shiny new cube.  With web services, the IT 
department can now compete well with the third party application 
system vendor by virtue of local mastery of the subject domain 
and the office politics.   Some of our locals are very surprised 
that our customers having discovered ASP and ODBC are accessible 
and with code cloning, eminently learnable, and are going 
around our marketing guys to do their own thing.  The VB model 
of hypermedia is still a very potent one if the web service 
APIs are implemented at the level of organizational forms and 
the negotiation doesn't go deeper than a sharable schema.

By 1990, the advanced thinkers in the CALS groups had published 
that global integration was not a document-centric issue, but one 
of better object frameworks for supporting the sharing of documents 
and processes (the old PPO model). Better frameworks are emerging 
but we had to repeat the cycle of development at a much larger 
scale (the WWW replicated most of CALS along the way).  Part of 
that was infrastructure development and part of it was a learning 
curve amplified to a very high volume.  No not all of the solutions 
arrived at now were known by the HTML community, but so far, very 
little done there surprises me or looks new.  Shinier, better 
implemented, etc., but not terribly new.  I have this sense 
that the windowing metaphor itself, the mouse click, etc, 
in other words, Englebart's work, are a pattern that gets 
reproduced at larger scales but essentially limits how 
far the document-centric approach can evolve.


-----Original Message-----
From: Gavin Thomas Nicol [mailto:gtn@rbii.com]

On Tuesday 22 January 2002 04:01 pm, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> I don't think we've begun to address the possibilities of XML's
> relatively easy 'lexical' level, so I'll leave semantics to the rest
> of you brave warriors.

Hmm. I've been feeling kind of like we threw the baby out with the 
bathwater recently... XML was originally supposed to offer better 
text/hypertext features to the WWW, but we seem to have missed that 


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