Re: XML interchange

Paul Grosso wrote:
> Several of us were talking yesterday at the GCA XML conference
> about the fact that one of the biggest problems with SGML is
> still with what's supposed to be one of its key goals: interchange.

With the caveat that it is actually easy to interchange an SGML 
document;  it is hard to interchange all the other pieces needed 
by the application that processes it.  It isn't hard to package it; 
it's hard to know what goes in the package.  In an of itself, XML 
doesn't change anything except having *enticed* the SGML community 
to sit down and make agreements about this without CALS telling us 
we have to.

> It is still way too hard to hand off to someone all the various files
> associated with an SGML application in such a way that the recipient
> can easily reconstruct it.  SDIF has existed for years, SGML Open's
> TR9401 made a simple stab at addressing this in its "Issue B: an
> interchange packaging scheme", and then the MIME-SGML work was another
> attempt to standardize this, but there appears to be no interoperably
> accepted solution.  Some of us feel this is such an important issue
> that perhaps it should be the "fourth phase" of the XML effort.

Keep the list alive.  It has value waaaaay beyond this year.  Make 
the agreements here.  Even COM/OLE is only a contract; it is just 
backed up with running code.
> Notice that this issue goes way beyond associating a style sheet,
> and I think any XML effort to associate anything with anything will
> naturally get us into all these issues, so perhaps we should face
> them head on.

Violent agreement here.  We have lived through ten years of CALS 
and we all know how much of that time was spent defining 1840 which 
was really just a way to package a nine-track tape.  If we insist on 
the separation of process and data, if we insist that style is not 
part of content, but we know that presentation and document management
the selling pieces, then for pity's sake, yes, let's do this up front 
and head on.  We know it is needed.  

That said, an obvious but sometimes confused issue: 
document management, document production, and document navigation 
aren't the same things.
I say this because in IETMs, this has not always been clear and when 
we start managing link sets and named relationships, it becomes more 

len bullard
lockheed martin