ERB work on 3.* (Linking Elements) issues

Peter Murray-Rust Peter at
Sun Mar 2 16:47:16 GMT 1997

	I'd like you and the ERB to know how much I appreciate the work 
the ERB is doing, and also that I think it's a very effective process.  
Personally I'm happy to work with whatever comes out - I trust the ERB to 
come out with the most workable solution that the associated brainpower 
and experience can muster.  [I think it's a credit that on xml-dev (which
is discussing how to implement PhaseI) no-one so far has suggested that 
the spec got things wrong, or is ambiguously worded, or otherwise 

In message < at> Tim Bray writes:
> The ERB has now put two meetings work in on this set of issues and is 
> nowhere near done.  Not surprising, given the importance of the issues.
> One of the factors holding us back a bit has been the fact that the
> discussion in the WG on the 3.* issues has been lacking in both volume
> and depth.  Reasons for this might be (a) that the WG is tired (the
> ERB is), (b) that the WG is busy on other things, and (c) that the WG
> has substantially less experience in these issues than in those that
> came up in the XML language discussion.

I cannot answer for anyone else, but I am (c).  [I think it's also
going to be  a problem in PhaseIII.]  I shall (I hope) have something to
say about addressing in PhaseII (I assume that's still to come).

>From my own perspective as a web hacker, I can probably hack solutions to most
of the proposals so far, so what matters is whether:
	(a) people outside the WG, outside SGML, will understand the result.
	(b) any decision is more constraining than any other.

At present I am implementing the simplest approaches (HREF-like and IMG-like)
in JUMBO and can probably manage your next lot (with a struggle, and not 
very efficiently, but that's not the point).  As long as the rules are
clear, whether we have link information in attributes, GIs, contents or the
whole lot is probably manageable.  It's more a question of whether confusion
will result.


As I mentioned on xml-dev I was talking to an important organisation in our
community who were very keen on XML, but 'hoped [the ERB/EG] didn't make it 
too complicated'.  In a sense, therefore, there are already two levels of 
indirection - people like me have to understand it and then carry the message
to a wider community.  If _they_ in term have to educate staff, the system
needs to be fairly self-explanatory.  Where possible, therefore, I will
cast a meta-vote in favour of the 'most obviously understandable solution
(without prior SGML/HyTime knowledge)'.  

To this end, any short example documents illustrating your conclusions so 
far would be extremely valuable.  Essentially: 'This is what we are 
suggesting: can you (a) understand what it is meant to do? (b) think it
can be implemented? (c) do everything that you want to do? (even if some
solutions creak a bit).'  We could then try to feed back on these (more 
concrete) documents.


Peter Murray-Rust, domestic net connection
Virtual School of Molecular Sciences

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