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RE: Precise Definition for Interoperability Needed (Was RE: [Minu tes] 6-7 Feb 2003 TAG ftf meeting (why XML))

From: Bullard, Claude L (Len) <clbullar@ingr.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 12:42:02 -0600
Message-ID: <15725CF6AFE2F34DB8A5B4770B7334EEEACFEB@hq1.pcmail.ingr.com>
To: "'Chris Lilley'" <chris@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Cc: "'Dan Connolly'" <connolly@w3.org>

I should submit a text change, but I think it best to look at 
this by example first.  Please pardon a description of what may 
be merely obvious to the rest of the list.

There are two definitions which can illustrate the applicable range of 


1.  "Interoperability 
the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the 
information that has been exchanged [IEEE 90]."


2.  "Interoperability Definition

The ability of systems to provide services to and accept services from other 
systems and to use the services so exchanged to enable them to operate effectively 

ISO TC 204 Document N271
(Adoption Proposed by ITS America)"

I think number 1 is the stricter definition supported by the syntax.  It 
denotes how the basic XML agreement, the syntax agreement, supports 
interoperability as 

"the ability of systems to exchange information"

but use of the information exchanged happens at the application level 
of agreements (in XML, an application language such as SVG where semantics 
are defined)

"the ability to use the information exchanged"

Number two is the definition some attribute to XML but actually 
is the second part of definition 1 expressed as the operation of 
requesting services.  It requires deeper agreements 
such as the XML family of specifications can enable if not directly 
provide.  I can accept the first definition a bit more uncritically 
but unless we explain how application layer agreements enabled by 
XML syntax provide a standard means to develop the ability to use 
the information exchanged, we don't have the whole story.

So, how long an explanation is needed here?  We shouldn't be 
teaching XML theory in the architecture document.  I can 
live with the first definition and it could be gotten by 

[IEEE 90]  Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. IEEE Standard Computer 
Dictionary: A Compilation of IEEE Standard Computer Glossaries. New York, NY: 1990. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Lilley [mailto:chris@w3.org]

On Tuesday, February 11, 2003, 4:22:20 PM, Claude wrote:

BCLL> requires a more formal statement.

I would agree with that.

BCLL> o  the term 'interoperability' is vague and 
BCLL> has created misunderstanding in the past; a more 
BCLL> formal definition of the term is needed,

Yes. Clearly a common syntax does not, in and of itself, convey any
interoperability above the syntactic level. XML 1.0 or 1.1 provide a
common syntax and *that is all*, with the exception of

  an unscoped document-wide unique identifier
  a scoped description of the human language used.

Taking 'XML' in a wider scope of 'XML related specifications' then
typing based on the Infoset or the PSVI, common access methods via DOM
Core XML, relative URI reference disambiguation via xml:base,
hypermedia link recognition through XLink, and so on are additional
pieces of  benefit that the 'XML family' provides.

I agree there is good reason to differentiate "what XML 1.x provides"
from "what the XML family of spec provide" and this should be
clarified in the next draft.

BCLL> o a formal statement of the relationship of XML 
BCLL> to "interoperability" is needed if the cited text 
BCLL> remains.

Please feel free to suggest one that is aimed at the sort of
interoperability that XML does provide.

 Chris                            mailto:chris@w3.org
Received on Friday, 28 February 2003 13:42:45 UTC

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