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Re: Section 0: Naming

From: Liora Alschuler <Liora@The-Word-Electric.com>
Date: Thu, 06 Feb 1997 19:55:21 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
I am new to the WG and have taken advantage of the recent
pause-to-consider-a-new-proposal to catch up with recent threads, going back
to about 1/21. I feel like I just walked out of a double feature of Patton
and The Longest Day -- sort of like a veteran spectator, tired of combat,
but loving the show. But this is definately The Good War.

I would like to contribute to the discussion of naming and terminology since
these lie closest to my own expertise and since, like many of you, I will
have the task of explaining these terms once they are released. This post
contains both General Comments on the approach to naming and a summary of
Specific Comments that link to the numbered discussion items. For thread
continuity, I will also post opinions addressing specific issues with the
appropriate headers.

*** ====== ***
General Comments

I have tried to listen to the language used most often to describe the
concepts, not in formal terms, but in the narrative of the WG, and where
possible, to put these in place of terms that, like Jon, sent me reaching
for an analgesic. 

I suggest that a reliance on adjectives is quite proper here because
judicious use of modifiers conveys relationships between terms that is
obscured by undue originality in naming parts of what should appear as a
unified specification. Whereas a car is just car whether it is a broken car,
a new car, or a chauffeur-driven car, all the tiny bits that make up that
thing-that-I-click-on in my browser require a unifying set of terms if the
user is ever to understand why what appears as one thing (and one action)
can't just be called by one name.

(I am expanding a point made by Jon, Murray, and others on the need for a
clear, cohesive identity for these concepts -- some call it marketing.)

*** ====== ***
Specific Comments

0. Naming

I have to side with XML Link or XML Linking (is a hyphen necessary?). The
XML-Hyper-X suggestions expand to something like: hypertext enhanced
extensible markup language. 

This is not only a mouthful but reads like a superset of XML, (if you want
the whole shebang you've got to have this stuff which is the *enhanced* XML)
where I believe we want to convey that the linking spec is a module of the
larger concept which is XML. XML Linking keeps the proper relationship
between XML and the XML linking spec (I don't think the hyphen is necessary.)

here's where the adjectives come in:
link    -->     link element
pointer -->     link pointer 
terminus -->    link end

Using two words in place of one may seems uneconomical, but is a concise
method of describing the relationship between the specific concept (pointer,
end, terminus, thing) and the overall concept (link, to link, to be a link,
to have a link, to make a link...). It addresses Eve's quandry: Did the
parson marry the young girl? (AND the young boy!?) We know a "link element"
is an element, not an action.

We all think we know what we mean by "link" (which is good) and it can
retain that intuited meaning and continue to act as both a noun *and* a verb
if we keep it as the big concept word and attach the little pieces to it in
well defined ways.

1.4.d (link) address I'm still not sure what is meant even though I've got
addresses and locators coming out of both eyes; I'll address this in
comments on 1.4.d

1.4.e  n-directional seems to capture bi- multi- and uni-, if a single
modifier will suffice. It seems to offers opportunity of association in a
democratic fashion.

1.4.f I have real problems with in-line and out-of-line. Although the WG
seems to have come to peace with this, I am going to argue against it.
Coming in from the outside, these don't work. See separate post.

*** ====== ***

I realize that this addresses last week's  topics not the new proposal that
Eve has put on the table that uses yet again a new set of terms. While the
naming may be very well thought out in her scheme (and knowing her care and
respect for language, I expect that it is), I couldn't really wrap my little
writer's mind around it. When it comes up for general discussion, I will try
to apply the same principles used here and root around for room for
improvement. Until it is broken down and torn apart for discussion a bit,
I'm afraid I just can't adddress it.



The Word Electric      \I sing the body electric 	I key the word electric\
POB 177, Route 5       /	-- Walt				-- Liora       /
E. Thetford, VT 05043  \             or, as Henry Miller said,                 \
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Received on Thursday, 6 February 1997 19:57:14 UTC

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