W. Eliot Kimber eliot at isogen.com
Thu Jan 15 21:13:50 GMT 1998

Mike Dierken wrote:
> It may be more interesting to generate VRML from XML via XSL and pass
> it off to a 3D browser component.
> Some sources of information might be experienced in a 3D space just as
> well as, or better than, a text & graphic screen. For example: rows
> and columns of numbers, a network graph (nodes with many to many
> relationships), etc.

I've been thinking about this (not very deeply) for a couple of years,
ever since I built my VRML DTD and realized how easy it is to generate
VRML syntax using SGML transformation tools.  I was trying to decide if
there was an interesting 3-D view of document structure generally.  For
specialized information types, I think the answer depends on the
information and will be clear to those familiar with it.  

It would be pretty easy to generate a VRML representation of any SGML
document using a DSSSL specification and using the SGML transform back
end of JADE.  It would look something like this:

(default  ; Default construction rule
  (case (node-class (current-node))
     (make formatting-specification 
        data: (generate-vrml-representation-of-element (current-node)))
     (make formatting-specification
        data: (generate-vrml-representation-of-attribute
     (make formatting-specification
        data: (generate-default-vrml-node (current-node)))))

Where the "generate-vrml-representation-of-x" functions are DSSSL
functions that encapsulate the generation of the VRML source using
properties of the specified node.  I could just never decide what those
representations might look like.

The HyperG/HyperWave folks have done some interesting work to provide
VRML representations of sets of documents. The demo I saw produced a
VRML view of documents about Graz Austria, with VRML representations
reflecting the kind of information in the documents (buildings, sites,
restaurants, etc.).  It was pretty cool.



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