[sc34wg3] XLink support in XTM

Lars Marius Garshol larsga at ontopia.net
Mon Apr 24 03:00:25 EDT 2006

* Murray Altheim
> We gain linking. Absent XLink we have no expression of what happens  
> with links: how they're defined, the model behind them, their  
> behaviours, etc.

What do we need this for? We reference the URI specification, which  
gives us the definition of URIs, the model behind URIs, and the  
behaviours of URIs. What does XLink add to this that's of any use to  
us? Where would it be used, and for what? Until you can even attempt  
to explain this, why should I listen to you? (And don't tell me  
you've attempted to explain this, because you haven't.)

In this conversation there has been a clear pattern from the very  
beginning. It's all along been obvious that you are complaining about  
the contents of documents you have done no more than merely skim  
through. In addition to this, your complaints have been free of any  
substance. You complain that we lack a "linking model", and yet you  
have persistently refused to explain what it is.
Instead, I am treated to sarcastic remarks about how the last XTM 2.0  
draft, the result of five years of work, doesn't do linking, "ha ha  
ha". I can only conclude that you are resorting to sarcasm because  
you have nothing else to offer.

You should also note that whether we use XLink or not in XTM, the  
only thing from a <resourceRef/> element that survives into the TMDM  
is the URI. The upshot is that even if using the XLink attributes  
instead of our own attributes added something, that something would  
be lost once the TMDM instance has been built. So any definition,  
model, or behaviour that XLink would offer us would not make any  
difference on the topic map represented by the XTM document. This has  
been the same since the first TMDM draft in June 2001, and nobody  
(you included) has ever complained.

> This continued business about having to declare a namespace (which  
> happens once per document and amounts to 42 characters) I find  
> rather silly, a complaint over nothing.

The complaint is more than that, and you know it.

> Yes, and I think you need to reread my postings on this. I provided
> responses to this, and have repeatedly posted justifications for the
> initial choice of XLink as well as its continued use.

Where? I haven't seen anything with any substance to it.

* Lars Marius Garshol
> I've asked you before what XTM needs a linking model for, but have  
> so  far received no reply.

* Murray Altheim
> As I mentioned above, I think you need to reread my postings on this,
> as well as those of others.

So far I've seen one sentence from you on this, and that sentence is  
quoted above. Conal Tuohy did post on the subject (and you replied to  
him in a way that seemed to suggest that what he wrote was what you'd  
meant), and I've replied to Conal's posting. That's the sum total of  
what I've seen on the subject of what a "linking model" is, and how  
it might apply to XTM.

> [LMG says there is no linking model in XTM 2.0]
> And you're fine with that? Remarkable. No linking in XTM 2.0! Not
> even the expression of what looks like links and some prose in the
> text?

I didn't say there was no linking; I said there was no linking model.  
And it's hard to see what the loss is, so long as nobody has been  
able to explain what a linking model even *is*.

You've actually given us a one-sentence explanation above, and while  
that one sentence isn't very exhaustive, it's enough for me to tell  
you that I can't see that we fail to have any of the things you seem  
to want. If there is anything I've missed you'll need to go into  
greater detail to show us what it is you want, because so far I have  
seen no detail whatsoever from you.

As for your question ("not even ...") I suggest you read the two drafts.

> Or are we relying on some software magic like the symmetry idea?

Spare me your sarcasm.

> [..] I'd hope XTM wouldn't leave out important details, fundamental  
> details.

You keep repeating that the linking model is important, but you also  
keep neglecting to tell us what it is. Your complaints would carry a  
lot more weight if you could add some substance to them by actually  
stating what they are.

> Ha ha ha. Pretty funny. The only instance of the word "link"
> in the entire document is:
>   XTM no longer uses XLink and XML Base.

Yes. Why should it appear more often?

> Hard to believe it, really. XTM 1.0 had dozens of instances. There's
> a lot of linking in XTM 1.0. I guess XTM 2.0 doesn't do much linking;
> well, actually, any. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nessuno. Intet.

XTM 1.0 is a specfication which such profound problems that it's hard  
to see how it could be used as an example to justify anything. We've  
worked for the past five years to solve the problems created by that  
specification, and if you don't like the result, the least you can do  
is to tell us why.

> Well, no definition of linking, no linking. I guess that's pretty
> unambiguous.

It is. Do you have a problem with it? Yes, obviously you do. But what  
is the problem?

> If you are comfortable with an XTM that doesn't include any linking,
> don't expect XTM 2.0 instances to do any linking, nor see any reason
> why XTM 2.0 needs linking, then hell, leave any definition of linking
> out. Yeah, actually, if you don't see the need to define linking I
> can completely agree with you -- don't define any linking.

That's what we've done, and that's what you seem not to like. Maybe  
you could explain why you think this is a problem? And if you can't  
explain why you consider it a problem, maybe you can shut up on the  
subject? Having you repeat over and over again for months that we  
don't have a "linking model" without ever bothering to explain what  
it is or why that would be a problem is beginning to grate on me in a  
serious way.

In case it was not clear from the above: you are not being asked to  
shut up. You are asked to either state

   a) what a linking model is (more than one sentence, please),

   b) why XTM 2.0 needs one

*or* shut up.

Have a nice day.

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

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