Re: Radical cure for BOS confusion

At 4:36 PM 1/7/97, Jon Bosak wrote:

>One of the advantages that I thought we might get out of confining
>ilinks to special documents of a single standardized type is the
>chance to specify standard information that could be included in a
>collection of ilinks -- for example, comments on why the links were
>created, or owner, or revision history, or whatever.

I think anything we can specify will be too limiting for someone.

>In other words, part of the tradeoff in going for what looks like a
>much easier to implement ilink mechanism (the fixed doctype alone
>should make tool construction simpler) is that we would have to do
>some pretty careful design work on just what kind of things should be
>included in a link set.  One of the things that emboldens me to make
>this suggestion in the first place is the estimation that we have the
>collective experience to do that.

    No, it's like the level of experience required to make the "one true
DTD." To the naive, we may look as if we have the experience to do that
too, but we know it's impossible.

    I don't like the fixed linkset proposal very much, but if we did it
with AFs we might be able to let people customize their ilinks. Trying to
predefine that customization would just get in the way, I think.

    Personally I don't see that ilinks are that hard to process, nor that
following a set of explicit companion links would be too arduous. In fact,
I don't see that there's much difference between the fixed doctype proposal
and the variable one -- we will still need some general way to recognize
links in documents, so the only thing we really accomplish with the fixed
proposal is to forcea segregation of ilinks -- we will still need to
recognize other link types, and we will still need to process ilinks, and
we will still need to fetch (at least 1) companion document. Once we go so
far as that, why arbitrarily tie our own hands?

    Let's face it ilinks are powerful. For the same reason, ilinks are hard
to understand. This fundamental fact won't change if we add a few
restrictions, I think.

   -- David

I am not a number. I am an undefined character.
David Durand              dgd@cs.bu.edu  \  david@dynamicDiagrams.com
Boston University Computer Science        \  Sr. Analyst
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