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   Re: [xml-dev] XML, hypertext

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Bob DuCharme writes:
> But to get back to my original question: what do you see an XML-based 
> hypertext effort as adding, and to what?

Well, actually I want my HyperCard back. ;->

I don't actually see XML or markup as fundamental to hypertext, though
it certainly looked like the "best way" when I was coming into XML from

(I think I told you at Extreme that I looked at HyTime when I was first
looking past HyperCard, and convinced myself that markup would go
nowhere, thereby losing a year I could have spent with HTML - which I
heard of a week later, actually, because of Cornell's "cello" work, but
stupidly ignored.)

What I'd like isn't so much "an XML-based hypertext effort" as some hard
looks at the intersection between hypertext and markup.  I think XLink
has demonstrated that specifying links in markup isn't necessarily a
natural-feeling process, and XPointer's xpointer() scheme demonstrates
that specifying endpoints in marked-up documents is also non-trivial.

To go back,
> What do you see as missing here that needs to be added? Do you want a
> standard that lets us use the original XML natively on the rendering
> devices, in which case we need to mix in some presentation
> information with the structural information? (Which of course sets
> off a buzzer in my old SGML head...)

I think we've mistaken the odd tools we have for the tools we need.
There's very little connection between XLink and the style
specifications, which may be driving your concern about mixing
presentation and structure.  The one document on the subject [1] is
really pretty exclusively about XSLT-styling, and I don't think anyone
claims it's a complete answer even within that domain.

There was some really excellent stuff at Extreme that gave me yet more
ideas and which more importantly convinced me that there's a lot left to
figure out.  I won't try to sell anyone on my Ool stuff, but some of the
work on overlapping markup made sense to me as a set of tools with
hypertext specifically in mind, and the range algebra stuff looks like
some serious firepower for using text as a foundation for hypertext and

XML and hypertext are both cool things.  I'm not sure that they're a
natural fit, however, and I'm definitely not sure that we've reached the
point where it's obvious how best to do linking in XML.

I'd love to see an informal group of people who discuss different
approaches over time for a while, and possibly some kind of catalog of
approaches.  While I was really impatient early on that XLink took so
long, I think its long development cycle and current relative
insignificance give us a good chance to look at alternatives before
locking into a particular approach.

[1] - XML Linking and Style - http://www.w3.org/TR/xml-link-style/

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!


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