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

RE: ZNG dicussion

From: Robert Sanderson <azaroth@liverpool.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 12:54:22 +0100 (BST)
To: Jacob HallÚn <jacob@netg.se>
cc: <www-zig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0109281216360.1182-100000@gondolin.hist.liv.ac.uk>

> > > > > 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.

Personally, I don't as our system does it for me. I add an access point to
a database in its XML configuration file, it gets added to explain. No
need to do things twice :)
I don't see why this shouldn't be the case for all Z servers.

> > 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
> 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.

I would argue against anything being bolted on to any specification. If it
can't be encorporated within the standard natively, and it is useful and
widely desired, then the standard should be changed fundamentally. Hence,
XML/XER or other such approach if this is thought useful/necessary.

> 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

Very true :)  Apart from the ONE-2 consortium (don't know if that's the
right word) has anybody else implemented Explain Lite? It seems that you
have the same problem - getting people to implement something.

In my opinion, if there is enough demand for it, then people will find
solutions, either by changing products or getting their current supplier
to implement it.  Currently there simply isn't enough demand, it seems?
We hope to change this with our Explain supporting client. If people use
Z natively they will see the advantages of Explain in not having to wait
while it probes (ala Sebastian's Z-Spy) each index in turn.

I'm sure if the consortium approached one of the other projects that had
implemented explain, that a reasonable contract could be worked out to
turn the XML into real explain.

For example Cheshire uses an XML configuration file which is similar to
the explain lite dtd, but is used by the Z server as well. It wouldn't be
difficult to modify the configuration parser and explain generation
code to fit into another system...

BTW - How do you specify SortDetails in Explain Lite? It doesn't seem to
be in the DTD at all? Also, there isn't any provision for
PreferredLanguage? This seems strange, considering the European nature of
the project? And b_<tag>s ?  Maybe the web documentation is out of date?


      ,'/:.          Rob Sanderson (azaroth@liverpool.ac.uk)
    ,'-/::::.        http://www.o-r-g.org/~azaroth/
  ,'--/::(@)::.      Special Collections and Archives, extension 3142
,'---/::::::::::.    Syrinnia:  telnet:  syrinnia.o-r-g.org 7777
____/:::::::::::::.                WWW:  http://syrinnia.o-r-g.org:8000/
Received on Friday, 28 September 2001 07:58:20 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 20:26:03 UTC