Repositories: From Argument to Architecture

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at
Sat Jan 30 21:00:54 GMT 1999

At 10:27 AM 1/30/99 -0800, Dave Winer wrote:
>Simon, I'm in 100 percent agreement with this!
>Repository-in-a-box. Very nice. I see the need too. Esp with tools that
>have File menus that only know how to store stuff in the repository. 

I'm glad to see you like it.  It seems to me like a good way to integrate
XML with current Internet practice, while significantly enhancing that
practice.  It also seems like a good way to encourage 'XML everywhere'
while allowing different developers to do what they think appropriate on
the back end to address the scalability issues David Megginson described so

For my part, I'm pondering one project that I can see growing to terabytes
of data, but over at least a decade if not half a century.  For now, a few
MB of XML data and maybe a gigabyte or two of BLOBbed graphics is plenty.
If we can get something up and running, with interfaces people can stand to
use, I think we have an opportunity to create a market that may grow large
enough to support the enormous amount of work needed to make this stuff
genuinely scalable.  Departmental-size repository-in-a-box would be a great

I'd also like to see Respository-in-a-Box be extensible, probably through
the provision of server-side SAX and/or DOM interfaces on outgoing and
incoming information, which would address a lot of the needs (though not
all) that we use CGI for at present.

>What goes back and forth between the writer's desktop and the server is
>XML. When it's time to publish a piece it's just enabled for access thru a
>public URL and rendered thru the public templates. The writers see very
>little XML, the editors see a lot, and the readers see whatever is
>appropriate given the path they take to get to the info.

That's pretty much it, though you'll need a great XML editor as well as an
efficient repository to really support that grand vision.  The public
templates you're mentioning could be done through a SAX or DOM
implementation of XSL, or by something else entirely.  It seems like a good
way to rationalize site management as well as encourage the use of XML.

>In a nutshell, that's the vision for our next-generation.
>I think I'm going to stop writing for this morning. I'm concerned that I'm
>promoting too much here and might outstay my welcome.

You've done a good job; it's hard to be a vendor on a list full of
demanding consumers.  Let's see where your vision takes your products, and
maybe we'll be discussing them in more detail next time, with or without
your having to mention them.

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer / Building XML Applications (March)
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