XLink-/TopicMaps Engines - GroveMinder
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 11:32:29 -0500 From: "Steven R. Newcomb" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: Looking for XLink-/TopicMaps Engines
> I work in a project where we have to deal with the linkage of > structured and unstructured data. We think about using XLink or > TopicMaps for this purpose. Therefore we are looking for engines > supporting XLink and/or TopicMaps. Until now we have identified X2X > and SigmaLink from Step UK resp. Step DE. Do you know other engines?
GroveMinder permits all constructs in all kinds of information, both structured and unstructured, to be addressable, and it supports applications that can make all addressed constructs appear to "know" that they are being addressed for any reason. This means, among many other things, that the traversal initiation anchors of hyperlinks need not be where the hyperlinks are, and that traversal initiation can occur from within resources that are expressed in any notation, not just in XML. Needless to say, this is good news for implementers of the Topic Maps paradigm, especially when the material in which Topic Occurrences or Subject Identity Descriptors appear are not expressed in XML. If the traversal initiation anchors could only appear in XML resources, then the Topic Maps paradigm couldn't truthfully claim to be "the GPS of the information universe."
Since GroveMinder 1.0 was released last year, GroveMinder's grove interface has always supported Python and C++ applications that needed access to groves. The current version of GroveMinder (1.1) also offers a Python interface for Minders, so that Minders can be written in Python, as well as in C++. A Minder is a notation processor that creates groves from resources that are expressed in some arbitrary notation. (XML is just one notation.) The grove created by a Minder conforms to a property set designed to make the constructs found in resources that are expressed in the given notation reliably addressable by means of expressions that are not dependent on any particular software implementation -- including GroveMinder. The DTD for expressing property sets is an ISO standard, as is the entirety of the grove paradigm that, at the present time, only GroveMinder implements in a generalized, industrial-strength fashion.
What is the "grove paradigm"? Here's a succinct answer: it's about user-definable DOMs for all notations, including but not limited to XML. It's about having a single convenient API for addressing all components of all notations. It's about re-usable software modules that understand whole classes of resources, with all their syntactic and semantic properties. It's about being able to invest in the development of expensive knowledge bases that incorporate information addressing expressions, with the comfort of knowing that the addresses will be expressed in an internationally standardized (ISO) fashion that will outlast any technology, any vendor, and any vendor consortium. It's about the wisdom of recognizing that the value of information often needs to endure far longer than the technology required to understand it can endure.
GroveMinder is being installed in several major projects, and installation is planned in several others. Currently, most of the installations are being done by DataChannel/ISOGEN. GroveMinder-based systems are up and running at Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems and at the Texas Legislature; in both cases the systems are pretty elaborate and GroveMinder makes much of their functionality possible and practical for the first time.
GroveMinder was designed and built, and its development continues to be led, by most of the same people who provided thought leadership throughout the development of the Topic Maps paradigm and ISO standard (1992-present) and the HyTime standard (1986-present). The Topic Maps paradigm illustrates a set of technical and business requirements to which the HyTime standard is, quite literally, the only comprehensive answer. GroveMinder implements HyTime linking. HyTime is the more generalized ISO standard on which the functionality (and, to a significant extent, the syntax) of "extended" XLink is based.
Steven R. Newcomb, President, TechnoTeacher, Inc.
firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.techno.com ftp.techno.com
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