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

Jack Park sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Thu, 21 Jul 2005 07:11:10 -0700

I like what Jim said and Steve's following comments. I have people
writing XTM using Excel. Just give them annotated columns and they
fill in the blanks just fine.

I suppose one could do the same with CTM.


On 7/21/05, Steve Carton <steve.carton@retrievalsystems.com> wrote:
> I'd like to second what Jim is saying here.  If we develop a CTM syntax,
> it will be for the techies to use.
> I develop TMs in XTM almost exclusively and I don't find that to be a
> burden, thanks to copy/paste!  But I'm almost always developing the TMs
> as a "spec" against which a user-friendly application is going to be
> developed, one in which the users won't know or care that a TM is under
> the hood.
> I guess, for me at least, the question is, why develop a CTM syntax as a
> standard? Is there a well-founded reason for this? Because I don't see
> the needs of techies as sufficient justification.
> Steve Carton
> -----Original Message-----
> From: sc34wg3-admin@isotopicmaps.org
> [mailto:sc34wg3-admin@isotopicmaps.org] On Behalf Of Mason, James David
> (MXM)
> Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2005 9:53 AM
> To: sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
> Subject: RE: xml:id RE: [sc34wg3] Compact syntax requirement question
> To reply to a few comments from Robert Barta:
> When I'm speaking of syntax-directed editors, I mean something like
> ArborText
> or XMetaL, which can be cusomized as an editing environment so that the
> end
> user never sees chicken lips or the other syntactic mess that we put
> into
> XML. And so I'm not talking about the raw-XML mode of XMetaL or XMLSpy
> or
> oXygen.
> Robert says that CTM-like things are for "engineers out there who very
> easily
> pick up languages". I have no complaint with that. But if topic maps are
> ever
> to get outside the geek community of people who like learning languages
> and
> messing with the neat internals of things, then we've got to get beyond
> picking up languages. (I like picking up languages. My doctorate is
> basically
> in comparative and historical linguistics. I took every Germanic
> language my
> graduate school offered. But I consider myself a wierdo: just ask my
> wife,
> who was dreaming in Old Norse by the time she finished typing my
> dissertation.)
> The end users, if we're successful, are going to be people who don't
> even
> know that there is such a thing as a topic map. For these users, custom
> editors make lots of sense. I think BrainBank, built from OKS, is a good
> example of the sort of things the majority of creators of TMs will need.
> None
> of my clients has ever seen XTM data (except perhaps as a horror-show
> slide
> in a PowerPoint presentation); they always approach the TM through a
> custom
> interface (though I admit mine are not nearly so slick as BrainBank).
> I currently edit XTM in oXygen, which I was glad to pay for because it's
> a
> good IDE for XSLT. It's fine for me; I've been looking at raw markup of
> one
> sort or another nearly half my life. (I actually generate much of my XTM
> through XSLT, and I need to look at the raw results to make sure I've
> done
> the right things. You know the drill.) I'd never wish that on the folks
> for
> whom I'm developing TMs. They'd never use it. But they'd never write LTM
> in
> Notepad, either. Too much syntax to remember.
> The overwhelming experience of the SGML/XML industry, coming out of more
> than
> 20 years' experience, is that tools like ArborText or FrameMaker are
> critical
> to success. I've used practically all of them, starting with the
> Datalogics
> editor that came to market even before SGML was finalized (I wrote my
> report
> to ISO announcing that this committee had completed the formal
> requirements
> for finalization in the Datalogics tool back in 1985, thanks to Pam
> Gennusa).
> Let's face it. We're building these things for ourselves, and they're
> proliferating because we have fun doing it. We need to think very hard
> about
> how many of them are pushed for ISO standards. I had my doubts about
> Compact, but it came in from another SDO with which we cooperate, so we
> might
> as well take it. It can be argued that TMs aren't really an XML
> application:
> Michel can tell you that I had my doubts about taking them in, too. They
> wound up in SC34 because they looked interesting, there were some people
> ready to take them on, and they were supposed to be something made out
> of
> HyTime, which was supposed to be related to SGML, which we were
> responsible
> for. (And the origin of HyTime is another story, which Newcomb can tell
> you
> about, but it's another case of a hobby becoming a standard because it
> was
> fun to do, and I did fight very hard to get that one into the
> committee.)
> I keep a very skeptical eye on all the things we're devloping in WG3.
> I'm
> particularly skeptical of claims that gobs of people are developing TMs
> in
> LTM, etc. Sure, people are doing it, but they're not enough of a
> community to
> justify the existence of SC34. I know some of the people, and most of
> the
> ones I know are techno-nuts, including my colleague who taught his
> 12-year-old geek son to do a TM of his Pokemon cards in LTM. If we've
> really
> got to have a new syntacic structure for technical reasons, then let's
> do it.
> But let's avoid saying we're doing it for the end users. They won't buy
> it.
> Jim Mason
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