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RE: xsl-fo first anniversary

From: Ian Tindale <ian_tindale@yahoo.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2002 18:13:20 +0100
To: <www-xsl-fo@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000601c27792$d5e8ce90$fc00a8c0@solstice>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-xsl-fo-request@w3.org [mailto:www-xsl-fo-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of W. Eliot Kimber
> Sent: 19 October 2002 14:46
> To: www-xsl-fo@w3.org
> Subject: Re: xsl-fo first anniversary
> There is no accurate short answer to this question, but to oversimplify,
> the goal was to enable the SGML representation of hypermedia
> information, from abstract source to recordings of performance
> instances. My personal motivation was focused primarily on solving
> problems of large-scale hypertext as required by the types of complex
> systems of technical documents I'd been working with at IBM. Steve
> Newcomb's motivation was focused primarily on solving problems of
> representing music and performance in general (e.g., opera). Charles
> wanted all of these things. The HyTime standard itself was an outgrowth
> of the Standard Music Description Language (SMDL), an attempt to define
> a generic markup language for music. The way Steve N. tells the story,
> the U.S. Dept. of Defense came to a meeting of the standard committee
> and said essentially "if you can represent operas you can represent
> battles and we need a way to represent battles but we can't go the
> Pentagon and suggest they apply a music standard, so if you could break
> out the generic bits and make that a separate standard, that would be
> great." And so they did. And SMDL continues to languish to this day as
> other activities have pushed it to the background for those involved
> (sadly, there does not appear to be any money for the generic
> representation of music, but there is lots of money for topic maps, FO,
> and workaday applications of XML--so it goes).

Funny, that. I wonder if there's a sort of susceptibility for people involved in presentation of visual matter to also be concerned at least in part with the auditory equivalent? 
As an example, I'm using, in the writing I'm currently doing, a hypothetical example as some editorial sample, of a mythical and entirely made-up kind of XML syntax which I keep referring to as SynthML. This is a syntax (doesn't exist, remember) concerned with the problem space of synthesizer patch description - that is, describing the sound of a hypothetical synthesizer engine. Not concerned with score representation or sequencing (much) - that's taken care of by the many XML representations of scoring. This is purely a way of describing the bleeps of things that go bleep.
As I got on with writing a short burst of this sample editorial (which could easily have been 'Lorem ipsum' for all intents), it occurred to me that this made-up SynthML would best be complemented or even entirely moved into the realm of a FO-like concept. That is, Sonic Objects. Thus, one could have a style-sheet of Sonic objects, which describe synths and sounds, in the same way that FO describes areas and area-notions on paper.

Ironically, with a viable OS MIDI representation in XML (which Sonic Objects or SynthML is not), I could see it coining some serious money in the commercial market for cellular ringtones for 3G. For a while.
Ian Tindale
Received on Saturday, 19 October 2002 13:13:44 UTC

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