Re: Is XML-Link Rocket Science?
As my fellow ERB members are acutely aware, I am highly sympathetic to
the thrust of Peter's remarks about the need to make what we're doing
understandable to the slowest members of the class. Me, for example.
The good news is that it seems to be happening.
I finally got out from under an important internal commitment at Sun
long enough to sit down this morning and read through the revised link
spec. I was delighted to find it 80 percent understandable on the
first reading. I didn't even need analgesics or antacids to get
Reading Eve's simplification proposal was tougher going because it's
about the architectural form approach, and that's most of the 20
percent that I'm not understanding in the official proposal. But as
the canary in this particular mineshaft, I can tell you that we are
making real progress here.
I'm not sure that it's realistic to expect the mlinks ever to be easy
to understand right off the bat, because what they are expressing are
relational structures that are difficult to fathom regardless of the
syntax. If mlinks are to do their job, it will always be possible to
create structures that only a rocket scientist will understand. But
in the area of the tlinks I feel confident that we will be able to
produce something not much harder to understand than the HTML <A>
link, and we ought to be able to create an mlink syntax that ordinary
people can use to express simple associations. Implementing mlinks is
another matter, but that's something that will probably have to be
left to the rocket scientists anyway.