[sc34wg3] XTM 1.1 issues

Lars Marius Garshol sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Wed, 14 Dec 2005 15:25:30 +0100

* M.Altheim
> Since you guys are in charge of the process and feel it within
> your rights and duty to make such substantive changes to XTM,
> such that to my eyes at least it doesn't look or act remotely
> like the syntax of the current markup language, why not call
> it something else? You've plainly got a much different agenda
> than we had in 2000, as things you call "errors" in XTM 1.0
> were deliberate design decisions, not errors at all, and things
> you seem to feel are "irritants" have seldom been for me (and
> apparently others, who've been able to successfully build Topic
> Map applications around the current XTM syntax).

There are a lot of things in XTM 1.0 that cause unintended  
difficulties for implementors. The added themes feature on <mergeMap>  
is one example of this, and the order of <instanceOf> and  
<subjectIdentity> within <topic> is another. Removing these warts  
makes it much easier to implement the syntax, which was one of the  
goals of this project.

As for feeling it our duty to do this, well, both me and Graham  
strongly opposed making any changes at all to XTM, but were  
overridden by the committee. So neither of us really disagree with  
you, but once the committee has made its decision we have no more  
power to change it than you do, really. I've gone on record before  
saying that stability is the most important thing, and I still think  
so, but once you change the namespace URI you've changed everything  
anyway, so...

> In looking at the various changes that have been proposed, I can
> say that it's rather unlikely that I'd myself have much use for
> the new "XTM", as it doesn't suit many of my own needs and seems
> to have processing implications different from and far beyond what
> I've been doing for the past five years with XTM 1.0.

That's why we posted the list of *proposals* to this list, in order  
to get feedback from the community so that we could ensure that we  
would not cause difficulties for anyone by these changes. So if you  
are against any of the proposed changes, please tell us, and we'll  
see what we can do. I note that you're against removing <mergeMap>,  
and that's one of the reasons it's now staying after all. If nobody  
had complained Graham and I would have happily ripped it out.

But what else is it you don't like? If you tell us now you can still  
hope to affect the syntax, but time is running out.

> ... in
> many cases you've even either changed or invented a different
> descriptive vocabulary than we used then.

That vocabulary has been developed over the last four and a half  
years (since Berlin in May 2001) as part of an open standards process  
where even non-members of the organization could contribute (and have  
contributed!). The only thing we're doing is to bring the syntax into  
line with the terminology that has been used in the model for the  
past years. If you didn't like the model terminology, well, you've  
had years in which to tell us.

Lars Marius Garshol, Ontopian                  http://www.ontopia.net
+47 98 21 55 50                                http://