[sc34wg3] Modularization

Kal Ahmed sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
08 Feb 2003 18:00:08 +0000

On Fri, 2003-02-07 at 15:25, Sam Hunting wrote:
> > The SAM is describing the way currently available applications work,
> > or should be working. TMCL and TMQL will add extra layers on those types of
> > applications. This is fine, but this is only a given universe. This
> > universe is interesting, but it's not the only one there is. I want
> > to leave room open for defining other kinds of applications. Some of
> > them I don't know them now. But I know for a fact that we can't possibly
> > have thought of every type of application past, present or future that
> > will have some relation with what we call topic maps.
> > 
> In the marketing world, this called brand extension and companies that
> want to survive figure out how to do it. (Granted, the topic community
> is not a compamy.) 
> If we can make our standards work as Michel suggests -- become platforms
> for topic map brand extension -- won't we all be better off?

I'm not sure. If the topic map "brand" is extended to the point that one
can squint at anything and claim it is a topic map and to the extent
that all XML can be treated as topic map interchange syntax, then I
think that the topic map brand will have been devalued to the point of

My feeling is that the topic map model expressed in ISO 13250 strikes a
perfect balance between simplicity and practicality. It hits the 80/20
point that RDF misses by miles, and I fear that the RM also does not

The comparatively rapid uptake of the standard and the later development
of both tools and bespoke systems based on the standard is testament to
that balance. XTM moved ISO 13250 out of the shadow of HyTime and into
the XML spotlight, which was a Good Thing. The SAM, TMCL and TMQL will
build on ISO 13250 and XTM to improve interoperability and the "core"
functionality of topic maps. And I think that it is these things that
need to move forward with focus and with speed to extend the reach of
topic maps into the general community.

Having read the arguments so far in this and other threads, I am still
not convinced that the RM helps move the cause of topic maps forwards.