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Re: locating capabilities vs. anchor awareness

From: W. Eliot Kimber <eliot@isogen.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 1996 17:34:07 -0900
Message-Id: <>
To: W3C-SGML-WG@www10.w3.org
At 02:25 AM 12/28/96 +0000, Lou Burnard wrote:
>A first draft of a brief tutorial intro to the TEI extended
>pointer syntax is now available at


Thanks for making this summary available.  The summary reinforces my
opinion that TEI extended pointers are probably a good thing for XML.

The only wrinkles I see in integrating TEI pointers with HyTime are:

1. TEI pointers use a slightly different "grove plan" than HyTime, to wit, TEI
   extended pointers only see elements (and not pseudo elements) in the tree
   rooted at the document element.  This doesn't cause any problems with
   specification, it just might confuse people (any location address can 
   specify the grove plan to be used when resolving it).  

2. The XREF element's to and from attributes cannot be directly mapped to
   a HyTime contextual link because HyTime expects there to be a single
   attribute for each link end, but TEI allows two (three if you count
   "doc").  The only ways to resolve this that I can see are:

   A. Allow To, From, and Doc and then use a separate fixed query as the value
      of the HyTime anchor-addressing attribute that then refers to the values
      of the To/From attributes.  This is pretty twisted but it could be made
      to work (e.g., I could create an SDQL "resolve TEI pointer" function and
      then use that as the value of the anchor-addressing attribute).

   B. Allow the DOC specification directly in the TEI extended pointer, e.g.:
      to="DOC (P3) ID (ABCD)" and limit XREF to "to" attribute.  This seems
      like a useful thing regardless--maybe it's already there and it just
      wasn't mentioned in the tutorial?
A few minor points wrt to mentions of HyTime and overlaps with HyTime
terminology and functionality in the tutorial (and I assume in the current
official TEI specs):

location path/location ladder/step

- Both HyTime and TEI pointers have the concept of location ladders and
location paths (I don't know who influenced whom here).  In the original
HyTime standard, the terms location ladder and location path were not
always used consistently.  In the TC, we've taken pains to sort out the
terms.  A "location ladder" is the equivalent of a single TEI extended
pointer: it specifies the list of nodes selected by successive narrowing of
the set of possible nodes, e.g. "first para of third chapter of second part
of doc A".  A "location path" is a series of "steps", each step the bottom
rung of a single location ladder, i.e., a series of indirections where one
location address refers to another (this would be like one XPTR element
pointing to another XPTR element).  These terms seem to be slightly
different from the way Lou has used them.  In particular, we use "rung" to
distinguish stages in a location ladder from steps in a location path--TEI
appears to use the term "step" where HyTime uses "rung" and doesn't appear
to necessarily distinguish rungs in ladders from steps in paths (this may
be because in TEI extended pointers, the location ladder is always
contained in a single pointer specification, whereas in HyTime a ladder
consists of multiple address elements).  

- From the tutorial: "The token and str methods are defined as behaving in
  exactly the same way as their HyTime equivalents tokenloc and strloc

  Note that tokenloc and strloc were replaced by "dataloc" in the final
  HyTime standard.  Dataloc survives in the TC, although the original
  "quantum" attribute is now "filter".  The filter value corresponding
  to TEI's "token" is "norm", meaning SSEP-delimited tokens.

- HyQ: HyQ is dead and replaced by SDQL from the DSSSL standard.

- Spans: The TEI "from" and "to" attributes let you address data by pointing
  to the start and end points and addressing everything in between.  HyTime
  calls this form of address a "span".  Any location address in HyTime can
  indicate that it is addressing a span, in which case, every pair of nodes
  addressed is taken to be the start/end (to/from) of a span.  Thus, the
  concept is there, but the syntax is different [my understanding is that
  spans were added specifically to reflect the TEI functionality.]  Note
  that when using a query in HyTime, spanning is a function of the query's
  semantics--HyTime doesn't care how the query arrives at the node list
  it returns.  Thus, if we assume that XPTR elements are treated as queries
  in a HyTime context, the TEI to/from attribute syntax is fine because the
  TEI engine will simply return the entire list of nodes addressed, not
  just the separate to and from values.

- "HERE" keyword.  With the TC, HyTime now has the equivalent of the "HERE"
  keyword, which is the ability of the location source of a location
  address to be the "referrer", i.e., the non-location address element that
  first points to it.  When used with the relloc (relative location address)
  element in particular, it lets you do things very much like TEI extended
  pointers by making it possible to have a single location ladder that 
  locates the "next" or "previous" element.  [I originally suggested this
  addition to HyTime specifically to mirror the TEI functionality.]

- DOC attribute.  The TEI "doc" attribute corresponds to the HyTime 
  location source attribute when it refers to a document or subdocument
  entity.  In original HyTime, the locsrc attribute could only be an
  IDREF.  With the TC, any location address element type can be declared
  as an ENTITY attribute, so that you can specify entities directly
  as location sources.

Given the above, the TEI XPTR element form can be declared to a HyTime
engine like so:

Syntax//EN" >
          to     CDATA  #IMPLIED
          -- Lextype(TEIXPTR) --
          from   CDATA  #IMPLIED
          -- Lextype(TEIXPTR) --
          doc    ENTITY #IMPLIED
          -- Constraint: document or subdocument entity --
          to     CDATA  #IMPLIED
          -- Lextype(TEIXPTR) --
          from   CDATA  #IMPLIED
          -- Lextype(TEIXPTR) --
          notation (TEIXPTR) #FIXED "TEIXPTR"
          HyTime   NAME      #FIXED "queryloc"
          HyNames  CDATA     #FIXED "locsrc doc"

The TEI XREF element, using option B given above, can be declared like so:

          to     CDATA  #IMPLIED
          -- Lextype(TEIXPTR) --
          refloc   CDATA     #FIXED "to queryloc TEIXPTR"
          HyTime   NAME      #FIXED "clink"
          HyNames  CDATA     #FIXED "linkend to"

Note that neither of these definitions change the element instances at all.



W. Eliot Kimber (eliot@isogen.com) 
Senior SGML Consulting Engineer, Highland Consulting
2200 North Lamar Street, Suite 230, Dallas, Texas 75202
+1-214-953-0004 +1-214-953-3152 fax
http://www.isogen.com (work) http://www.drmacro.com (home)
"Rats in the morning, rats in the afternoon...if they don't go away, I'll be
re-educated soon..."                 --Austin Lounge Lizards, "1984 Blues"
Received on Sunday, 29 December 1996 19:36:06 UTC

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