JUMBO2 as a learning resource

Peter Murray-Rust peter at ursus.demon.co.uk
Fri Apr 17 14:42:00 BST 1998

[crossposted to XML-DEV and XML-L]

At 15:50 15/04/98 -0400, Jeff Zwick (on XML-L) wrote:
>I design Internet training courseware and my company is thinking about
>creating a training course on XML.  My question to the list is what books
>you recommend on XML.  I'm going to use the books as a basis for the
>course.  I have experience with HTML, but not XML, which is also a
>description of the types of students who would attend this type of
>training.  They will have fairly substantial skills with HTML and want to
>go to the next level.  So, I'm looking for books that give a good overview
>of XML (structure of XML documents, good uses for XML on the Internet,
>etc.) and relate it to HTML.

Though not strictly a 'book' I am putting the final touches to an
interactive CDROM/WWW-based tutorial package on XML, based on the current
standards.  This is a 'learning by doing' approach, accompanied by some
textual material to add background. I shall make a full announcement
shortly (on this list and XML-DEV) but am waiting until the final revisions
have been made to SAX by David Megginson. The general contents will be:
	- the current specs in HTML (and XML where available)
	- the current SAX distribution
	- AElfred and Lark parsers (SAX-compliant). I would be delighted to add
other parsers from other authors if they wish.
	- JUMBO2 (a completely rewritten version of JUMBO, using the SwingSet
(JFC) from SUN/Javasoft)
	- Shakespeare in XML
	- graded examples of XML documents covering a wide range of applications.
	- self-paced tutorial material

The resources will be useful for non-programmers in that there are a number
of simple tools for exploring XML documents (searching, etc.) and simple
authoring facilities. The emphasis will be on understanding how XML works
(not how to use a particular tool). Because XSL is not finalised there is
deliberately no stylesheet implementation, and simple ideas of style will
be done under manual control.  Although XLink is not finalised, aspects of
xml:link="simple" will be supported and a subset of Xpointers.

In addition this will be supported by a virtual learning environment from
the Globewide Network Academy ('The virtual University of the Internet') at
http://www.gnacademy.org [1]
This will be hypermail (and possibly MOOs if there is demand) and will
include online help (and bug fixes :-).

The philosophy is:
	All JUMBO2 material including source will be fully freely available on the
WWW under appropriate public license. JUMBO2 is being offered to the XML
community for communal exploration of the specs and for building prototype
applications (especially, but not exclusively in science/technology and
education). A key feature of JUMBO2 is that I always attempt to track the
specs precisely at appropriate times. [JUMBO was developed primarily to
provide feedback to the XML-WG on possible implementation concerns, and
JUMBO2 will continue in this tradition, e.g. on Xlink].

	The JUMBO/CDROM provides a working one-stop package of current core XML
implementations. I am extremely grateful to those who have made the
material available to me. We hope to distribute it through e-outlets such
as online bookstores.

	I hope that this package will be a useful counterpart to traditional
cellulose/carbon technology and also could be a useful package for training
courses such as the one that Jeff is suggesting. Key features will be
simplicity, flexibility (JUMBO2 has several ways of displaying XML content,
both element- and mixed) and adherence to the specs.

	Details are not final but we would expect to offer this in the same sort
of way as material that supports other public license products, e.g. Linux,
tcl, LaTeX, all of which are freely available but where the convenience of
CDROM-based material can be valuable in many instances.  We'd be
particularly interested in anyone who would like general e-training resources 
in this area.

	We'd be interested in feedback.

	P + GNA.

[1] the Globewide Network Academy is a non-profit volunteer-based global
organisation devoted to developing the use of the Internet for education. I
am personally extremely grateful to many virtual colleagues in the GNA. In
particular they have given me the vision to get the VSMS off the ground.

Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary

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