W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-zig@w3.org > September 2001

RE: ZNG dicussion

From: Jacob HallÚn <jacob@netg.se>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 13:13:07 +0200 (CEST)
To: Robert Sanderson <azaroth@liverpool.ac.uk>
cc: www-zig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.1010928125445.21112A-100000@valdez.netg.se>
On Thu, 27 Sep 2001, Robert Sanderson wrote:

> > > > Explain Lite uses an XML format to describe some administrative details,
> > > This is what I don't get. When there's GRS and all the rest already in the
> > > Z spec, why add yet another parser requirement and put Explain Lite in
> > > XML?
> > Rather than looking at Z39.50 as an isolated protocol, view it as
> > something that needs to fit into an environment of multiple applications.
> > Every library runs a webserver these days. Most libraries have a web
> This looks like an argument for ZNG, not Explain Lite. Although some of
> the same people are involved in each so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.

It certainly is an argument for ZNG, but I also made the argument that ZNG
is too a radical step for the installed base of libraries. See it more as
a step away from the world where you have to make a goat sacrifice to
appease the gods every time you need to make a change.
> Z39.50 isn't run from a webserver and has no dedication to XML, last time
> I checked.  Z39.50 on the other hand does have GRS1 and a host of other
> stuff.  As I've said, I've no problems moving to XER or other encoding
> schemes, but Explain Lite is simply bolted on to the existing spec to
> accomodate lazy programmers (AFAICT).  Perhaps I should quit my current
> job and go work for one of these companies :)  Then I could forget about
> standards and just make things up to make my life easier :)

I wouldn't say Explain Lite is bolted on to accomodate lazy programmers. I
would say that it is bolted on so that a non-programmer can change the
specs and the presentation in one single swipe, using a readily available
XML tool.

If the world had adopted Explain as the way to communicate setup
information to the client, we would have used it. However, in all the
years Explain has existed, it has seen insignificant use. We belive this
to be caused by too much real and percieved complexity. We believe that
putting our efforts into the existing Explain mechanism is a waste of
time, because we see little chance in getting the programmers in the
library community off their lazy bums and implementing Explain in a
standard, communicable way. This is why we propose a different, simpler
mechanism that has a very low entry level. You can draw pictures of
beautiful castles, but at the end of the day, having a little cottage to
come home to counts for more.

Jacob HallÚn
Received on Friday, 28 September 2001 07:13:16 UTC

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