[sc34wg3] Re: Backwards Compatability WAS: Public Interest and ISO WAS: [topicmapmail] <mergeMap> questions

Sam Hunting sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Thu, 18 Oct 2001 13:02:07 -0700 (PDT)

[sam hunting]
> >If you were convinced that the spec or the paradigm were broken, and
> >that to be fixed, changes that were backwards incompatible for
> >applications had to be made in the spec, would you support the
> >changes? That's the question before us.

[kal ahmed]
> Yes I would support it. However, your definition of what constitutes
> broken and mine are possibly different.

Probably, but at least we have agreement in principle. 
> >I suspect you would answer (as I do) that "it depends" on a lot of
> >factors -- some of which I list above. I think that public interest
> >is one such factor. I also think that "backwards compatibilty" is 
> >not a fetish to be worshipped, but a principle to be applied on a 
> >case by case basis. The W3C folks revise their specs -- why 
> >shouldn't the topic mappers?

[kal ahmed] 
> Perhaps you can tell me which W3C specification underwent a revision
> which altered its core model within 12 months of its publication ? 

I think that "altered its core model" does "beg the question", but that
is an argument for another day. What I am thinking of is the current
ferment in RDF, most of which is interesting and all of which seems to
designed to help that family of specs gain "traction" (stability not
being the only way). Since I'm a W3C-spec newbie, I could be wrong on
this, but someone will doubtless correct me.

> Perhaps could also comment on the nature of the process that led to 
> that change ?  Was it before or after a large, widespread user 
> community developed ?

The snow of my ignorance regarding W3C process remains untrodden. As
for "before and after", I'd answer "both" -- the RDF community is
bigger than the topic map community (they like graphs ;-) but RDF is by
no means ubiquitous.

[kal ahmed]
> I don't know how many sentences that I have to start with "IMHO".

On this list? Are you kidding? Write a macro!

[kal ahmed]
> I certainly do want it recognised that ISO 13250 exists, it was 
> published less than 2 years ago.

Seems like forever, doesn't it? Time doesn't fly when you're not having
fun, and vice versa.

In your opinion, did the rapid development of XTM from 13250 grow or
shrink the market? And you see how I am trying to trap you ;-) -- if it
grew the market, then why should we (the "community", in Murray's
formulation) be concerned with rapid change?

> > > that enable us to develop TMCL 1.0 and TMQL 1.0. Lets not revisit
> > > basic model issues.
> >
> >I'm unclear on the distinction that you draw between defining models
> >that work with XTM 1.0 and basic model issues that we should not
> >revisit?
> Lets build TMCL 1.0 and TMQL 1.0 on the models of ISO 13250 and XTM
> 1.0, 
> not on the "fixed" model that has no representation in either
> interchange 
> syntax and no extant support in the vendor community.

Not what I meant -- I didn't understand what you meant by "model".
Actually, it is probably best not to tangle this thread further by
bringing that up.

[kal ahmed]
> IMHO "moving forward" is two things:
> 1) Developing ancillary standards - TMCL, TMQL, a topic map API
> 2) Fostering and supporting a user community around topicmaps and the
> two  existning interchange syntaxes

This sounds like a reasonable (how about I use that word instead of
ITPI?) set of objectives.

[kal ahmed]
> IMHO "moving forward" is not:
> 1) Altering a basic assumption made by both users and vendors (that 
> association roles only have one scope) 

The problem here, I think, is that point 1 above depends on SOME sort
of formal model that enables both interchange syntaes, and modelling,
as we all know, because we've been through it, can be a process of

> without first hearing a
> clamouring  from one or preferably both of those communities.

Well, we can present alternatives as they come up. This is part of the
balancing I keep advocating. For example, I've heard from information
owners and other members of the community that topic map/RDF
convergence is a concern to them. That is an example of the sort of
requirement to be balanced. And this too is probably another thread.


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