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Bush designed conceptually for the time and technology
he knew. The concepts have proven to be independent of
that time (just as Goldfarb notes that medieval and scholastic
glosses are the "original hyperlink concepts"). When
any of you go to see the new Time Machine movie, note
the familiar look of Babbage's Differential Analyzer
in the controls of the movie time machine. Nice touch
for a New Yorker. ;-)
I agree that the concept of the shared trail, or the
sharable set of navigation links is very useful. XLink
as the independent links of Hytime make that possible
but few take advantage of it. That suggests to me that
link sharing in the current mass hypermedia (the web)
can achieve that by other means (see the reference lists
at the ends of some mails) and that no further compelling
or ubiquitous requirements have emerged. Again, not yet.
Many things considered YAGNI in one effort become de jure
XLinks may not have come to their time.
From: W. Hugh Chatfield I.S.P. [mailto:email@example.com]
I have access to the WWW..
I have an SQL database...
I am aware of the need to multiply link resources on the WWW.. perhaps first
described in Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" article in Atlantic Monthly
1945 - where he envisioned the creation of an external "named trail" that
could be shared (although he saw it as linking microfilm frames - but same
difference - it was 1945 after all)
Yet I still can't build and share these links...
Building would take a bit of programming but it seems to me that the sharing
part insists on some level of abstraction completely divorced from the
underlying implementation technologies.
A document I create in "Electric Pencil" can't easily be shared - but if I
could save it as XML, then it can more easily.
A "Vannevar Trail" I create using some local code using a relational DB
system can't be easily shared - but if I could save it as XLink, then it
can more easily.
So I think you are right... XLink may only be a convenient transport layer
(in the same way XML may only be a convenient transport layer for content).
Ted Nelson (although he thinks XML is a mistake
http://www.xml.com/pub/a/w3j/s3.nelson.html) considered the visible display
of links to be of some importance (see http://xanadu.com/cosmicbook/ ).
Methinks he is right as well.
The real problem seems to be what to do with these things - how to share
them - how to process them - how to display them .. not what particular
underlying technology could be used for implementation.
W. Hugh Chatfield I.S.P.
CyberSpace Industries 2000 Inc.
XML Consulting & Training
From: Bullard, Claude L (Len) [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, March 15, 2002 9:23 AM
To: 'Leigh Dodds'; xml-dev
Subject: [xml-dev] XLinks
On reading Bob DuCharme's article on "XLinks, Who Cares?"
I am struck that he leaves out the argument that is to me
a primary reason XLink isn't taking off. Many of us use
relational systems on the server that handle metadata
relationships in tables. Many of the tasks that an XLink
database is good for can be easily handled with a table
that contains URLs as database types.
Maybe I am just getting foggy in my dotage, but do we
need Xlinks if we use relational dbs and if so, for what
other than perhaps a convenient transport representation?
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