xml:id RE: [sc34wg3] Compact syntax requirement question

Lars Marius Garshol sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Tue, 19 Jul 2005 12:55:20 +0200

* Lars Marius Garshol
| CTM is specifically meant *not* to be an XML syntax.

* Bernard Vatant
| Indeed? Where is this specified, [...]

Well, that was the problem: it wasn't specified in writing anywhere.

| and what is the rationale for not using XML?

That CTM should be compact, etc, and usable within TMQL (because we
need it for the INSERT support in TMQL updates). XML is just too
verbose for that.
| If I read the following requirements.
|   (f) CTM needs to be compact, and easy to write.
|   (g) CTM needs to be easy to read.

Yep. I think it's quite clear that XML is going to have to struggle
quite hard to compete with

  [bernard : person = "Bernard Vatant"; "vatant, bernard"]

(though this is of course not meant to imply that CTM == LTM, or
anything like it). 

The rationale for doing this is that a for a very large number of
cases one needs to be able to hand-edit topic map content. In these
cases XML is just too painful, and today people have to use LTM or
AsTMa= (and in fact lots of people do). It would be better if there
were something standardized they could use, and since we will need
something standardized for TMQL updates anyway we figured it would be
better to define this now, so that CTM, TMQL, and TMCL can have
coherent syntaxes.
| I would like to add :
| 	CTM should be easy to validate

That's an interesting requirement, but I'm not sure exactly what you
mean by it. Validate on what level? Syntactically? Or against a
schema? And easy for whom? The implementor or the user?
| 	CTM should be easy to translate from/into other TM syntaxes
| 	(e.g. XTM)

Hmmmm. What do you mean by "translate" here? If you have a topic map
engine with support for import/export of all the syntaxes then there's
really no way to fail this requirement, which makes me suspect you
mean something else.

| So, if not XML, what kind of format do you figure? Plain text, with
| specific grammar?  With specific editing tools? Specific validators
| and parsers? Specific stylesheets?

Specific grammar and parser, yes. I don't know that there is any need
for the others. A simple editing mode for your favourite text editor
is all that's needed for developers, and they are the only ones meant
to use this anyway (real users should use real editing tools). Given a
proper parser there is no need for a specific validator (the parser
will do syntactic validation as part of parsing, anyway). What you
mean by "specific stylesheets" I don't know.
| This does not mean "easy" to me at all. If, just for sake of
| compactness (compacity?), I lose all XML technology support, count
| me out, I'll stick to XTM. Given existing tools, today : easy to
| write, read, parse, validate and translate means to me XML, sorry.

Why are you so negative to this? We're proposing to standardize a kind
of syntax which is already very widely used, primarily because it's
needed as a piece in another standard anyway. What's the big problem?
Why get upset over that?

Lars Marius Garshol, Ontopian         <URL: http://www.ontopia.net >
GSM: +47 98 21 55 50                  <URL: http://www.garshol.priv.no >