Topic Maps on SQL

Tim Bray tbray at
Tue Nov 24 23:00:48 GMT 1998

At 10:40 PM 11/21/98 -0600, len bullard wrote:
>Steve brings up the point that I do wish would be looked at 
>seriously by other language communities:  the potential of 
>using property set/grove concepts to create information 
>standards that are independent of lexical/syntax representation 
>and implementation.  

You know, this goes straight to the core of a deep issue.  Where
I have often felt out of sync with the grove/property-set evangelists
is that I perceive syntax as fundamental and any particular
data model as ephemeral.  I guess I must admit that I don't believe in 
"information standards that are independent of lexical/syntax

The reason is that I know how to interoperate robustly and efficiently
based on syntax; but in my 20 years of experience in software I have seen 
very little successful interoperation based on data structures or APIs;
and usually at high cost and irritating fragility.  This was what
originally drew me to SGML.  Also I have trouble believing that any
one data model will work well across the infinite breadth of application
types and computing infrastructures.  Even one as sophisticated as groves.

Guess I'm just old-fashioned. -Tim

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