Recent ERB work - miscellaneous

More reports from the March 8 and 12 meetings.  Attendence was confusing:
every member of the ERB was in attendence in part, but there was a 
certain amount of checking in and out based on travel plans and 
interruptions; my notes record no dissenting votes to any of
the following, but some member who missed a particular vote may
choose to record a dissent:

1. The XML-LINK attribute will get a new declared value.  So far, we
have (LINK|XLINK), which inconveniently doesn't provide a this-ain't-no-
steenking-link value to override a defaulted value from the subset.  So
we'll change it to (LINK|XLINK|FALSE).

2. We discussed the idea of having a way to provide a base address;
draft.  The ERB is powerfully in favor of giving entities a way to
specify the canonical address by which they'd like to be referred to,
bookmarked, relative address computed, etc.  But we realize this is
really not XML-LINK stuff, just a very convenient convenience feature
for the XML language itself.  So we provisionally decided (provisionally
because this hasn't had WG exposure) to create a new per-entity
<?XML-BASE PI and write that into the language spec.  We could not,
at this time, muster support for the IMPLIED-LOCATION-SOURCE stuff.

3. We took up the questions of what subset of TEI Xpointers we're
going to need.  We developed consensus that:
 - the subset in the initial spec is reasonable, except that
 - even though SPAN is really useful, we are nervous that as far as we
   know, the world has only one implementation, namely Panorama; are
   there others?, and
 - sub-element addressing (TOKEN, character counting, patterns) are just
   not stable enough, particularly in the case of some Asian languages,
   to be worthwhile including in XML-Link release 1.0.

4. We decided that we were not going to specify support for any query
language, built-in or FOREIGN, in XML-Link 1.0, beyond TEI Xpointers,
which are in fact a query language.  Support in some way for SDQL remains 
firmly on the agenda, but not in this release.

5. On the subject of Extended Link Groups, the ERB is unanimous that 
we must have some way of providing this function - of pointing to
other documents that contain links into a current one.  However, there
is another standardization effort underway in the W3C called Web
Collections that may well be, in parallel, cooking up a solution to
this same problem.  Furthermore, the rumor mill says that the idea of
using XML for Web Collections is in play.  We have an action item to 
check this out - if we can outsource this job to existing web machinery, 
it would clearly be a good thing.

6. We discussed whether or not we should specify a process model, i.e.
assert that a locator containing a '#' should be split in two, the
part before the '#' being handled by the server to retrieve a resource,
the part after being used by the client to track down a more
specific resource within the retrieved one.  This is universal Web
behavior.  We decided not to specify this, and leave it to the 
implementors; clearly we can think of cases (humungous SGML docs) where 
we'd like the server to help out with the after-the-# part; while it's
hard to see how that could happen in the current Web architecture, we
are reluctant to rule it out.

Cheers, Tim Bray
tbray@textuality.com http://www.textuality.com/ +1-604-708-9592