[sc34wg3] Editors' drafts of TMDM and XTM 1.1

Murray Altheim sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Fri, 16 Dec 2005 17:18:59 +0000

Jirka Kosek wrote:
> Murray Altheim wrote:
>>I would hope that the ISO editors reconsider calling their
>>markup language something other than "XTM", as by all counts
>>(including your own remarks above) it no longer continues in
>>any tradition (grammatically or semantically) with what XTM
>>1.0. It has redefined existing grammatical tokens, made funda-
>>mental alterations to their meaning and behaviour, and added
>>or subtracted enough of the language that any resemblance to
>>XTM 1.0 is only peripheral, and perhaps misleading. You have
>>invented a new XML markup language for interchanging Topic
>>Maps of a different model, and this requires a new name.
> This is true. On the other hand creating new language named like YAXTM 
> (Yet Another XML Topic Maps) will be confusing to users and would not be 
> good for "TM marketing" IMHO. People will ask question like -- "What is 
> better: XTM or YAXTM?", "Should I use XTM or YAXTM?". I think that at 
> the end it will create more problems and confusion than using the 
> original XTM name.

If the sole good reason for maintaining that the new markup be
called "XTM" is a marketing one, I have little else to say on
the matter. Markup abuse is a form of semantic violence -- if
it's done in the name of marketing, so be it.

> My suggestion is to label it "XTM 2.0" instead of "XTM 1.1" (as Lars 
> already proposed). It will not be the first time when change in major 
> number of some language means big and backward incompatible changes. But 
> it will be perfectly clear that "XTM 2.0" is a successor of "XTM 1.0". 
> It is still XML representation of topic map.

If the W3C were to put out a new version of XHTML that fundamentally
altered the way that browsers handled the markup, they'd have a bit
of a tough time selling the idea, marketing or not. The HTML WG had
a requirement that XHTML be roughly compatible with HTML, and even
so we changed the name. The changes being proposed for XTM are a lot
more fundamental than HTML --> XHTML. For example, TM4J would have to
make fundamental alternations to its processing of XTM documents, far
more than simply being able to parse the incoming markup.

>>Existing XTM applications can't "upgrade" to this new markup
>>language by simply making minor alterations to existing
>>software since the application behaviour in many cases has
>>also changed.
> If you change namespace, it usually means that semantic changed in a 
> backward incompatibile way and processing tools must be revised anyway.

I think this again is confusing the issue with XML Namespaces. This
isn't just a namespace change, it's a different underlying model too.


Murray Altheim                          http://www.altheim.com/murray/
Strategic Services Development Manager
The Open University Library and Learning Resources Centre
The Open University, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK7 6AA, UK               .

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