[unrev-II] Current Proposals

From: Eric Armstrong (eric.armstrong@eng.sun.com)
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 15:54:36 PDT

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    At yesterday's meeting, Jack and Howard, based on
    a meeting with Doug, proposed that source documents
    (HTML, source code, etc.) would be translated into
    an XML-based OHS format and stored in the OHS
    repository in that format. [Note: That is the XML
    model I have been assuming.] The documents are then
    transcoded for display.

    Lee Iverson then proposed a different idea, where the
    OHS-XML document does not carry the information
    directly, but instead consists of pointers and links
    into the original document. The original document
    remains intact. [That sentiment echoes design concepts
    proposed in a message by Sandy Klausner.] He further
    proposed that the source document could be transcoded
    to produce that "OHS wrapper", rather than translated.

    [Definitions: Format A is "transcoded" to Format B if
    you use Format B for a while and then discard it, so
    you re-access Format A and transcode it again the next
    time you need it. Format B is "translated" to Format B
    if discard Format A after you are done and use Format B
    from then on.]

    My proposal has been that the operations on the OHS only
    take place on documents in OHS-XML format. You make the
    DTD open, provide email/browser tools, and encourage others
    to do so as well. The benefit of that proposal is that it
    simplifies the project. The potential cost is that because
    people are not working in their native document format, it
    reduces participation, possibly to below the desired
    "critical mass" levels necessary to ensure success.

    Jack and Howard's proposal is the closest to that, with
    one important difference: The original source documents are
    viewed as *part* of the OHS, rather than lying outside it.
    In my view, they are translated one time to get into the
    system, and after that ignored. In their proposal (I think)
    those documents are viewed as part of the system.

    The major issue I see with that approach (and have not yet
    been argued out of) is that of managing change. What happens
    when the underlying source document changes? How is the
    OHS-XML version informed and modified in such a way that any
    links made to that document remain pointed to their intended

    I see that as the central issue in Lee's proposal, as well.
    How do you reflect document changes in the OHS-XML index of
    the document? And for both alternatives, do you allow
    modifications from within the OHS and, if so, what becomes of
    the original document.

    Lee seems to feel that these issues are resolvable. He suggested
    that the source documents would be under a source control system
    like CVS or SCCS, and that would make a difference. If so, the
    implications are:
      * The source documents would have to be under source control
      * The OHS would require detailed understanding of the source
        control format, and possibly the ability to manipulate it.

    Lee also felt that the Source Development System (SDS) at
    provided answers to some of these issues.

    Unfortunately, just as we were about to examine the issues in
    depth, discussion had to stop.

    [Lee, can you elaborate on how change-management issues can be


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