[sc34wg3] occurrence - basename fuzzy border

Nikita Ogievetsky sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Fri, 21 Feb 2003 14:39:22 -0800

Murray Altheim wrote

> Steve Pepper wrote:
> > At 11:13 21.02.2003 +0000, Murray Altheim wrote:
> >
> >> This smacks so strongly of featuritis that I can't help but do the
> >> common thing of accusing you of being an application vendor.
> >
> > In that case I refuse to engage in any discussion with you.
> A bit childish a response, Steve. My point was, while obviously
> we are all here trying to develeop a technology, your suggestion,
> similar the one Michel made during our TopicMaps.Org days on
> adding base names to occurrences, seem based on a vendor's ideas
> or needs for their application. In the case of Michel's, we in
> the end didn't add the feature for the reasons I cited in my last
> message, and applications have been able to come up with other
> ways of doing it.
> I had hoped to engage you in a discussion of why adding a
> presentational structure to occurrences is in this case *not*
> simply a case of vendor featuritis, rather than shutting down
> the conversation entirely, which is obviously always an option
> but hardly productive. IOW, I wasn't making an attack on you
> as a vendor, I was saying your proposal sounds like one based
> on the needs of a vendor rather than architectural considerations.
> We always must strike a compromise between these -- the one
> usually called "80/20".
> So I'm not saying you're doing that, I'm asking to hear why your
> argument is *not* that, since so far I've only heard that it
> would improve your application's ability to sort and display
> topics (I say "your" since it seems to me there a number of
> ways to approach this problem that don't require changes to
> the current spec, and obviously current topic map applications
> are currently operating without this feature).

Murray, as definitely "not-a-vendor" I feel that I must step in now :-).
Sorry for being in and out of the discussions (I am actually in Russia now).

It appears that Geir and I are the two persons who wanted variants
on occurrences, but apparently for completely different reasons.
Here is mine:
I do not like variants at all. There was no apparent need to put them on
(You may say sorting and display... well it could have been done
differently, i.e. through reification, etc. as Steve had mentioned) .
However if they are there and if baseName assertion is just a special case
of more general occurrences assertion then why the asymmetry?
Variants on occurrences might have been just as useful.
For example they might be used to indicate different ways to access
a resource depending on the device context, protocol, location, etc.

As I had mentioned in Baltimore, variants provide for the only difference
between occurrence and baseName elements.
Especially now when we had introduced instanceOf child elements on

Allowing variants on occurrences will make content model more uniform and it
will still be backward compatible.

> We've seen what happens to specifications when basing the
> justification for new features is based on the "need" for new
> features, as in HTML/XHTML: there's an initial good idea, and
> then over time it bloats out with further "good ideas", features
> that differentiate products, that may improve a GUI but make
> implementations more complex, raise the bar of entry for newcomers,
> and often destroy interoperability and interchange. A "fully
> compliant" web browser nowadays is near an impossibility to create,
> a far cry from Mosaic. [I think the W3C has long since taken XML
> past that point; another discussion entirely...] Ed Nixon under
> a different thread ("Mapping files") is making *exactly* this point.
> Adding the recursive <variant> to <occurrence> would add significant
> complexity to occurrences, as we've already heard people complain
> about them in <baseName>. At this point in TM's history, while we're
> all trying to increase its "market penetration", the last thing we
> should be doing is unnecessarily making the technology more complex.
> Someone had posted a note on their office door here that's now gone
> that said in effect, "any technology that takes longer than a week
> for a web developer to figure out is doomed." Like it or not, it's
> probably true.

I do not see how it would add complexity? It will definitely be more
readable then reified occurrences!
(not that I would use it :-))


Nikita Ogievetsky, nogievet@cogx.com;
Cogitech Inc.        http://www.cogx.com
Topic Maps Tutorials and Consulting.
phone:  1 (917) 406 - 8734