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Introduction: Murray Maloney

From: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
Date: Thu, 07 Sep 2006 17:35:30 -0400
Message-Id: <5.1.1.6.2.20060907133950.052da2f0@mail.muzmo.com>
To: public-grddl-wg@w3.org
Thank you for your welcome in joining the GRDDL Working Group.

Dan asked me to provide an introduction. I was going to toss off
a quick paragraph or two, but after seeing some of your intros,
I decided to give you a bit more detail. It seems that I may have
got a bit carried away, but if you will bear with me I herewith
present a precis of my history which I thought might be relevant
to you as we work together. [Dan, you already know most of this.]

I am currently semi-retired and living on 100 acres overlooking the
Beaver Valley and Georgian Bay near Collingwood, Ontario, Canada.
My geo-coordinates are N 44deg 28' 34" and W 80deg 33' 08"

Between 2001 and 2006, I stepped back from technical work to concentrate on a
new home and a young family. The renovations and efficiency improvements are
largely complete and the second of three children has now headed off to 
University.

Now I am a bit bored and am looking for things that I can do to contribute
to a more useful and usable web. Earlier this year I attended the W3C
Technical Plenary meeting near Cannes. I was delighted to learn of
the emergence of micro-formats in HTML as an alternative to developing
formalized XML schemas and namespaces. I was intrigued by the possibilities
when Dan Connolly presented GRDDL to the Semantic Web Interest Group.
I think that GRDDL is the kind of simple plumbing that will encourage 
development
of lenses or viewports through which developers who are most familiar with a
resource-based programming paradigm can view dialects of HTML and XML.
It also seemed clear to me that the nascent XML Pipeline specification is 
ideally
suited to address GRDDL transformations and put the power of GRDDL into
the hands of XML plumbers. And that should serve as a stepping stone between
two world views which have been at odds for some time now.

My technical career began as a production technician on the first generation
of consumer-ready cable TV converters in the Toronto market in 1975.
I subsequently worked in a variety of manufacturing and service settings
as a watch repair technician, an assembly technician on sonar buoy systems
and medical and micro-industrial video systems, a production scheduler for
a line of TV and radio studio-transmitter links and ultimately a technical 
writer
on subjects including specialized  industrial and surgical video systems, a 
circuit board
manufacturing system, supervisory control and data acquisition systems for
pulp and paper mills, an oil and gas pipeline, a battery manufacturing 
plant, a 4GL
accounting package, publishing software, authoring tools, award winning 
troff manuals,
the complete UNIX, X11 and Motif documentation, and SGML on the Web.

My earliest computing experience dates back to a course that I took at
Santa Barbara City College in 1978 and writing a BASIC program for the
Data General Nova 100 that printed stick-on labels on a DAISY printer
so that the manufacturing line, QA and bench technicians could identify
the subcomponents against the corresponding drawing ID and revision numbers.
Not much of an innovation until you consider that most manufacturing companies
of the time didn't even have a computer. I also took writing and graphic 
design courses
at SBCC, from which developed my ultimate career direction in communications.

Except for a hiatus (1982-1985) during which I attended Seneca College to get
a diploma as a computer technician, I have been writing professionally 
since 1977,
especially about to publishing, troff, SGML, the UNIX operating system, 
HTML and XML.
James Clark, the author of groff among other contributions to the world of 
publishing
technology, once commented that the troff reference manual I wrote for 
SoftQuad was
the one that he most often referred to for his work on groff.

In 1993, while I was with SCO, I was part of a team that selected NCSA Mosaic
as the underpinning of our online help system. It turns out that we were the
first or second company in the world to licence NCSA Mosaic. We developed
a way to convert the entire troff source of our UNIX documentation set, 
including
all of X11 and Motif, into a web of HTML files every night. Taking the then 
current
specification for HTML at its word, we also developed a set of keywords -- a
micro-format, if you will -- to encode navigational links using REL and REV
attributes on LINK elements. Our adaptation of Mosaic, scohelp, provided
PREVIOUS, NEXT, UP, INDEX and TOC buttons which would be enabled
for any HTML resource which contained a LINK with corresponding REL value.
I demonstrated this technique at various conferences in 1994, including the
Seybold Publishing Conference in Boston. Together with Liam Quin, as part of
the IETF's HTML Working Group, I later prepared an Internet Draft proposing
a core set  of REL/REV attribute values which user agents might agree to 
recognize
and offer the user appropriate interfaces. Sadly, there was no traction for 
the idea
at the time and the Draft died on the vine.

When I rejoined SoftQuad in 1995, I was technical product manager for two 
lines of
editing and browsing tools -- one line was SGML-based and the other was 
HTML-based.
SoftQuad Author/Editor was a strictly-conforming SGML authoring tool and 
scheme-based
development environment. SoftQuad Panorama was an loosely-conforming SGML 
browser
which accepted well-formed SGML documents -- a novel concept at the time --
as well as supporting extended Hy-Time Linking capabilities and 
user-selectable stylesheets.
HoTMetaL was an HTML/CSS editor which enforced compliance with an SGML DTD,
which magically managed to keep up with ongoing updates to the W3C HTML and CSS
Draft as well as actual browser behaviour during those early years of 
browser development.
The HoTMetaL Intranet Publisher (HiP) combined a custom version of HoTMetaL
with a browser plug-in to enable not only LINK/REL, but also the CLASS 
attribute
as a way to define pseudo-elements as an application convention.

In 1996 and 1997 I completed a book, SGML on the Web, that had been started
by Yuri Rubinsky of SoftQuad. It demonstrated how to define HTML dialects
using SGML DTDs and then went on to discuss the use of LINK/REL and
techniques for incorporating meta-data within HTML documents and providing
interfaces for presentation and extraction.

In 1997, I formed Muzmo Communication Inc and provided educational, design,
technical writing and quality assurance services to organizations including 
the
Graphic Communication Association, Grif, Veo Systems and Commerce One.
I was also a member of the the iW3C2 from 1997 until 2000, was co-chair of
the 1999 WWW Conference in Toronto, and Developers Day co-chair for
several WWW Conferences.

Between 1996 and 2000, I was a AC rep for SoftQuad, Grif, Veo and Commerce One.
Between 1991 and 2000, I was a member of W3C and IETF Working Groups including
HTML, CSS, XML, XSL and XML Schema. I was an author of both SOX submissions
to the XML Schema WG. In 1998-9, I chaired CommerceNet's eCo Framework WG.
Between 1997 and 2001 I also participated in the development of CBL and UBL.
I was also a charter member of the Davenport Group which developed DocBook.
There is more, but those are the highlights of my internet standards work.

I hope that the group will benefit from my experience and my technical writing
and editing skills. Since I am never likely to write a GRDDL-aware processor
of any kind, I expect the technical judgement of others to supercede my own.
However, I hope that I can help ensure that our specification is understandable
by serving as a sort of canary who is breathing in the GRDDL coalmine.

I look forward to the next few months of working with you.

Regards,

Murray

P.S. Although I am not currently gainfully employed, I am open to persuasion.
Received on Thursday, 7 September 2006 21:40:10 GMT

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