Re: PLink availability/feature requests

From: Murray Altheim (
Date: Wed Apr 25 2001 - 14:52:14 PDT

Eric Armstrong wrote:
> > If you specify this information on a per-document basis rather than
> > a per-node basis and let the document act as the "namespace" you'll
> > not be adding much overhead at all.
> >
> Tempting. But if document is a considered as a "view" that combines
> a collection of nodes into a hierarchy, it means that a node can
> exist in multiple documents.
> To inherit information from the "document", it is necessary to
> accord priority of place to the *first* document the node was
> constructed in, and to never-ever delete that document.
> Otherwise, you wind up with nodes that have lost their original
> parent, but which still exist because they have been incorporated
> into other documents. And in that case, from whence can a node
> inherit such information?
> Perhaps a "system/author header" would make more sense to catch
> such info? The header would then list any and all nodes created
> by the author while on that system, and remain in place until
> the list was empty (assuming that node deletes are supported).

I don't really buy into this view of documents, although I recognize
that some do. One of our engineers did a fairly comprehensive study
of document "components" with an eye on reducing translation costs.
Sun localizes its document pool across quite a number of languages,
which is very expensive, so the idea was to try to save some money
hiring translators.

What he found was that the cutting and pasting of such components
was frought with difficulty, as they were originally written by a
[supposedly] intelligent author for a particular purpose in a
particular context. That these components (let's really call them
"document fragments") are somehow modular and reusable seems rather
suspect to me. I can imagine a server breaking a large document into
pieces in order to serve it chapter-wise or page-wise, but this
doesn't create the problem you're alluding to.


Murray Altheim, SGML/XML Grease Monkey <mailto:altheim&#64;>
XML Technology Center
Sun Microsystems, 1601 Willow Rd., MS UMPK17-102, Menlo Park, CA 94025

         america was once a paradise
         of timberland and stream
         but it is dying because of the greed
         and money lust of a thousand little kings -- archy (1927)

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