Re: The DSSSList Digest V3 #48

Subject: Re: The DSSSList Digest V3 #48
From: Ralph Ferris <ralph@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 17:55:23 -0400
Hi All,

The following exchange took place on the Mulberry DSSSList. Since it
concerns issues outside of DSSSL proper, though, I'm cross posting my
comments to the relevant lists.

Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 06:00:27 -0400
From: Norman Walsh <ndw@xxxxxxxxxx>

>Personally, I wouldn't characterize XLink and XPointer as
>"competition" with HyTime, just an alternative. But I agree that
>HyTime is less likely to be implemented. But HyTime has never
>been widely implemented.

>Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 10:31:54 -0400
>From: "Didier PH Martin" <martind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>...So, it remains that XLink/XPointer
>and Hytime are competing for "market share" (i.e. the biggest number of
>implementations) and mind share (i.e. the biggest number of people knowing
>these specifications). Actually, Hytime starts with a handicap. A not
>completed spec is more popular than a mature spec (since several years).

Actually, the XLink/XPointer vs HyTime issue is part of a longer standing
issue: HyTime vs TEI. Years before there was an XML, Steve DeRose and Dave
Durand wrote "Making Hypermedia Work, A User's Guide to HyTime." This
"HyTime" book included a section on TEI pointers that made it pretty
obvious which approach the authors' preferred.

When the XML effort was first forming up, the idea nonetheless was to base
"XLL" on HyTime. A meeting of the (now defunct) Davenport group, held just
after SGML '96, changed that picture. At that meeting, M. Sperberg-McQueen
and Lou Burnard gave a presentation on TEI. The compactness of TEI pointers
and the possibility of including them directly into URIs had an immediate
appeal. HyTime's syntactic fate was pretty much sealed when Liam Quin
described how Panorama, which provided some limited support for HyTime
linking, actually managed the information internally in the form of TEI

Before we can decide to what extent HyTime and XLink/XPointer compete at
the application level though, we have to decide what the latter should
support. That's another way of asking, what (or whose) problem(s) are we
attempting to solve? HyTime tried to take on the whole world of hypermedia.
TEI took a more modest view, being primarily intended to support academic
papers. By some definitions, the XML "family" of specifications is supposed

- replace the SGML "family" of ISO standards and the vertical market apps
to which they've been applied, and
- support the Average User (or "Joe Homepage" in the phrase of a few years
back), and
- everything in between, and
- do it all in free browsers supplied by Microsoft and Netscape.

On the otherhand, some might suggest that this "marketing description" has
too many "and's." If so, arriving at an accepted description means agreeing
on which "and's" to remove.

Best regards,

Ralph E. Ferris
Fujitsu Software Corporation

 DSSSList info and archive:

Current Thread