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RE: Structured Resources

From: Ron Daniel, Jr. <rdaniel@acl.lanl.gov>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 15:17:14 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Yaron Goland <yarong@microsoft.com>, "'Jim Whitehead'" <ejw@ics.uci.edu>, w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
At 12:16 PM 3/26/97 -0800, Yaron Goland wrote:
>The goal in proposing structure is very simple - Resources have
>structure and I felt it would be a good thing to provide a standard
>mechanism for gaining access to that structure.

I agree with the sentiment, but am in stronger agreement with Jim
that it is unclear on how to determine and communicate resource structure.

>My own opinion is that the proper
>solution to this problem is the introduction of a standard for how one
>exposes the structure of an HTML or any other content type.
>I am further proposing that DAV contribute two of these standards. One
>standard for history and another standard for basic directories. But,
>just as we are depending on groups like Dublin to fill out the meta-data
>types, so we will be depending upon groups in the IETF to provide
>standards for other content types.

I think that, at a minimum, you would have to provide a specification for
describing structure in HTML as well. In the absence of an existance proof,
I'm unconvinced that a reasonable job can be done on it. I suspect there
are a lot of really hard problems that you won't encounter with the two
example standards you propose to use. Jim mentoned one, bad translation
from a legacy document. Besides, until HTML has such a standard, a lot of
the promise of the STRUCTURE method for DAV goes unfulfilled.

It may be the case that a credible job on HTML can be done
by a simple approach - expose only the "important" tags like <head>,
<body>, <H#>, <blockquote>, <HR>, <DL>, <UL>, etc. Later approaches would
presumably do better at coping with all the bizzare tag abuse we know
lurks on the web. How are clients and servers to know what structure
extraction approach is used? Don't they need agreement on that so the
client has a way of marking the structures for the user? If they do, then
is a negotiation mechanism necessary? (I sure hope not).

Just some of the questions that arise...

Ron Daniel Jr.              voice:+1 505 665 0597
Advanced Computing Lab        fax:+1 505 665 4939
MS B287                     email:rdaniel@lanl.gov
Los Alamos National Lab      http://www.acl.lanl.gov/~rdaniel
Los Alamos, NM, USA, 87545  
Received on Wednesday, 26 March 1997 17:24:08 UTC

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