Re: Interactive XML

Subject: Re: Interactive XML
From: "Martin Bryan" <mtbryan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 10:47:30 +0100

>Martin, we do not know what will be included in version 1.0 so you
>do not.  Please do not make statements that imply you have information that
>you do not have.  Version 1.0 of XSL is scheduled for July, 1999.  We are
>working feverishly to get out a small Working Draft for next month.  It
>not provide you with information on what will be in the July '99 document
>either. It is our FIRST WORKING DRAFT and we should be given the courtesy
>have some time to develop coherent, well thought out, workable proposals
>this complex subject in more than 4 months.

I am sorry if my message upset you. However, I  would point you to my actual
words, which you do not seem to have read: "I live in hope and eagerly await
next month's *draft* in the hope I will be proved wrong."

I was under the mistaken impression from what had been said previously
that the final text had to be sorted out in Sept/Oct for voting
on by January. Such a schedule would not give us time for debate about
requirements, which was one of my concern areas. I have previously noted
that there were no adequate statement of requirements re interactivity
prepared for the first draft, which seems to me to mean that there cannot be
any such features until version 2.0, which will be at least a year after the
1999 date of Version 1.0. The revised timetable will make it easier to lobby
for what is required to be put in Version 1.0, but not having seen any
revision of the user requirements, or the first draft, it is very difficult
for me to come to any clear determination.

I would remind you that there is much other work held up waiting for the
decisions of your committee. In particular I am unable to determine how much
work is needed for interactivity control within the XML/EDI projects that
are currently being proposed worldwide because of lack of guidance as to
what the aims of the XSL committee are in this area. Once I know what you
plan to do I can do something about explaining to an industry that is now
keen to start actively exploring the role of XML what they can do with it.

The XML/EDI community has a much wider need for interactivity than those
currently being discussed by this list. Simply providing the functionality
found in HTML
forms or exsiting GUIs is *not* sufficient for this potentially very large
user community.
For electronic commerce you need to be able to extend the simple form
creation specification currently being considered to do things like:

a) check that the value entered in a form conforms to a predefined lexical
or matches one of the entries in a referenced database (either on the local
server, in cached memory or on a remote server)
b) create menus whose lists of options can be created on-the-fly by
selecting options from
a referenced database
c) allow the selection of one item in one menu to change the contents of
another menu (e.g. if I select Supplier  X then the list of options in the
next menu changes to display only those items created by Supplier X) without
having to make an additional call over the clogged network.
d) allow sections of forms to be removed from, or added to, the display when
a certain option is selected for a particular field.

Most of these functions could be acheivable with a few extensions to
provided that this general purpose langaguage is adopted by XSL as the main
of associating programmable behaviour with XML elements. At present it is
far from
clear that this will be the case.

My one big worry is that I will have to tell the XML/EDI user community
 "Sorry XSL cannot do what we need it to do, so we will have to develop our
own interactivity control
language, and drop the idea of using any features that may later on be
standardized as part of XSL". At the moment this, unfortunately, looks to me
to be
the most likely scenario in the XML/EDI world.

Martin Bryan

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