A posting from Lars Marius Garshol announces the publication of a new draft version of TMQL Requirements, defining informal requirements and feature lists for the upcoming ISO standard TMQL (Topic Map Query Language, ISO/IEC 18048). This language "is intended to be a kind of SQL (or XML Query) for topic maps, and will greatly simplify topic map application development by making it much easier to extract information from topic maps." TMQL is being developed by SC34 in connection with TMCL (ISO 19756: Topic Maps Constraint Language) and the multi-part standard ISO/IEC 13250: Topic Maps.
The updated TMQL Version 1.2.0 draft supersedes the August 2003 draft version 1.0.0. ISO/IEC 13250-2 (Topic Maps Data Model) defines the abstract structure of topic maps and provides the foundation for TMQL. The revised TMQL requirements draft "reflects the intentions of the Topic Map community regarding a Topic Map retrieval and manipulation language, and contains the consolidated view of the standards editors. It defines the requirements for the TMQL standard as a whole, and for the query aspect of TMQL in particular; additional requirements for the update part of TMQL will be detailed at a later stage."
SC34/WG3 ('Information Association') will be meeting for standards work December 6-8, 2003 in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Special attention is being given to the Topic Map specifications, including the ISO 13250 Roadmap and Primer, XTM (XTM Syntax and Specification), TMDM ( Topic Map Data Model), TMCL, Canonical XTM, TMQL, and the Topic Map Reference Model.
TMQL Requirements Version 1.2.0. Topic Map Query Language. By Lars Marius Garshol and Robert Barta (JTC1/SC34). Date: 2003-11-07. ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34. Information Technology -- Document Description and Processing Languages. Produced within ISO Project 13250 (Project editors: Steven R. Newcomb, Michel Biezunski, Martin Bryan). Document Reference: ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N0448. Draft for review and comment. Supersedes: ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N0249 (TMQL 1.0.0, 2001-08-09) and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N0227 (TMQL 0.8.2, 2001-06-12).
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Query Environment
- 3 Requirements on the Language Definition Document
- 3.1 Relationship to other standards
- 3.2 Structure
- 3.3 Syntax
- 3.4 Semantics
- 4 Requirements for the Language
- 4.1 Functionality
- 4.2 Input
- 4.3 Result sets
- 4.4 Usability
- 4.5 Implementation
- 5 Non-requirements
- A References (Non-Normative)
- B Acknowledgements (Non-Normative)
- C Revision history (Non-Normative)
The purpose of the TMQL Requirements document "is to be as explicit as possible about the form and functionality of a Topic Map query language without preempting the discussion process on how particular objectives, goals, and requirements can be achieved. This is regarded as the most effective way to solicit more specific comments from the community.
While striving for a maximum of expliciteness, some of the requirements are only implicitly specified through other requirements. In this light the document should not be read as a fully formalized requirements document. Instead, feedback on this document is requested, especially as the targeted lifetime of TMQL related technologies is projected to be at least 15 to 20 years.
The document is organized as follows: after some editorial definitions we will define some basic concepts for querying which we will use throughout the rest of the document. These set the stage for requirements of the standardization document and on requirements regarding the language itself..." [from the Introduction]
Topic Maps could be seen as a new 'data base' approach for knowledge bases. Relational databases use SQL as standardized interface between applications implementing the business logic and the database containing the relational data. The Topic Map community sees the need for a Topic Map query language addressing the equivalent purpose... ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 recognized this need and started the new standards initiative TMQL -- Topic Map Query Language in May 2001.
The need for a Topic Map query language is obvious; it is questioned by some people if such a query language could/should be embedded or seen as an extension to existing query languages like SQL or XQuery. But neither SQL nor XQuery provide an ideal solution for TMQL. SQL is able to query RDBMS but Topic Map software might neither store Topic Map data in tables nor can SQL statements as they are query the graph-like Topic Map data structures, which could only be covered by e.g., stored procedures. XQuery is optimised to work on the XML tree but Topic Maps are arbitrary graphs with well defined processing (e.g., merging)..." [from the TMQL home page]
- TMQL Requirements Version 1.2.0. See the announcement.
- Earlier versions:
- tmql-wg mailing list for Topic Maps Query Language. See also the archives.
- The Topic Map Query Language (TMQL) web site
- "Topic Map Query Language, Use Cases." By Lars Marius Garshol and Robert Barta (JTC1/SC34). Committee draft. ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N449. 2003-09-12. "This document is part of the effort to define a standard query language for Topic Maps (TMQL, ISO18048) and as such describes possible use scenarios from both, an application oriented view, but also more detailed in terms of retrieved topic map content. These use cases are intended to support the evaluation process for individual TMQL proposals."
- "Topic Map Query Language, Use Cases." Early draft from Lars Marius Garshol and Robert Barta (JTC1/SC34). 2003-07-29.
- "TMQL: Getting Started." May 20, 2003. Presentation by Robert Barta. See also in PPT format.
- "tolog for TMQL?" May 2003. 54 slides. From Ontopia. "loosely based on the Prolog programming language... some features also stolen from SQL... basic feature: matching of predicates against topic map data..."
- Topic Maps -- Part 2: Data Model. ISO/IEC 13250-2. Date: 2003-11-05. Committee Draft.
- ISO/IEC 13250: Topic Maps, Second Edition. Prepared by ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 JTC1, Information technology, Subcommittee SC34, Document Description and Processing Languages. 19-May-2002.
- Topic Maps -- Overview and Basic Concepts. By Steve Pepper and Motomu Naito (JTC1/SC34), for ISO Project 13250: Topic Maps. 2003-11-03.
- Topic Map Constraint Language (TMCL) Requirements and Use Cases. Edited by Mary Nishikawa and Graham Moore. Project: 19756 Topic Map Constraint Language. 2003-10-31. See also the TMCL straw man proposal.
- See also: Meeting Notice and Draft Agenda for SC34/WG3 Meeting, December 2003. The ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 Working Group (WG3) will meet on December 6-8, 2003 to continue work on Topic Maps and other projects, with particular emphasis on the restatement of ISO 13250.
- Contact: Lars Marius Garshol
- Guide to the Topic Map Standards
- "(XML) Topic Maps" - Main reference page.