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Re: ERB decisions on the LINKTYPE proposal



[Steve Pepper:]

| I would like to thank the ERB for its serious discussion of my
| proposal, and Tim especially for his thorough report. However, I am
| disappointed that none of those members of the ERB that are opposed to
| the proposal have seen fit to explain their reasons in this forum. Is
| that not what this list is for?

Not primarily, no.  The WG list is primarily for input to the ERB, not
output from it.  The primary ERB outputs are draft specifications, and
we are meeting double-time in order to get them done.

| "Ideal":
| 
|    <!DOCTYPE  tei.2 public "-//TEI//DTD P3//EN" [
|    <!ATTLIST  xref
|               xml-link    CDATA   #fixed "xml-tlink" >
|    ]>

I note that you agree with the ERB that this is the ideal solution.

| LINK-based:
| 
|    <!DOCTYPE  tei.2 public "-//TEI//DTD P3//EN">
|    <!LINKTYPE xml-link tei.2 #IMPLIED [                       (1)
|    <!ATTLIST  xref
|               xml-link CDATA #fixed "xml-tlink">
|    <!LINK #INITIAL xref>                                      (2)
|    ]>
| 
| Now, while I agree that we could and would have come up with a simpler
| syntax if all we wanted to do was declare additional attributes, 

That is all we want to do.

| I do not see that this is so verbose, complicated or hard to explain
| that it should be rejected for that reason alone.

It's not being rejected for any reason.  It's being put on the list of
technically sound but less-than-ideal alternatives that will be
considered if we can't have the ideal.  We have good reason to think
that we will have the ideal because (a) it is among a short list of
changes to 8879 that we are in the process of proposing to ISO and (b)
the necessary revision is intelligent, obvious, and noncontroversial.

If for some reason the ideal solution is not incorporated into 8879 so
that we can use it in XML, then we will consider the less-than-ideal
alternatives.  Two such are your LINK proposal (for which many thanks)
and something based on a PI.

I personally am among those who would prefer the PI to the LINK
proposal.  A large part of the target audience for XML over the long
run will consist of people who don't know SGML.  For these people, the
lines

|    <!LINKTYPE xml-link tei.2 #IMPLIED [                       (1)

and

|    <!LINK #INITIAL xref>                                      (2)

are just voodoo and will be considered ISO obfuscation at its worst.
Those of us who are going to be in the position of explaining the
invocation of this gibberish at the top of every document fragment
don't much relish having to tell our students to shut up and stop
asking questions.  (Telling someone who doesn't know about SGML and
doesn't need to know about SGML that this apparent nonsense is
"governed by the requirement to keep XML 100% SGML conformant" is just
a polite way of telling them to shut up and stop asking questions.)

Perhaps one has to have had the experience of explaining to highly
competent computer scientists why adherance to a standard they don't
like requires them to define HTML constructs in contorted ways in
order to fully appreciate this point, but I can tell you that such
experiences are not pleasant.  This prospect would incline me to
oppose the LINK solution even if it did not contain the
extraordinarily unfortunate word LINK, which in my opinion is
confusing enough in an Internet context to eliminate the proposal from
consideration on that basis alone.

Happily, the chances of our getting the form that we all agree
would be ideal look pretty good at the moment, so if our luck holds,
this issue will be moot.

Jon


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