From owner-xml-l@LISTSERV.HEANET.IE Mon Sep 14 16:15:34 1998 Date: Mon, 14 Sep 1998 17:03:51 -0400 From: "John E. Simpson" <simpson@POLARIS.NET> Subject: ANN: FlixML web site To: XML-L@LISTSERV.HEANET.IE
This is to announce the "opening" (such as it is) of my new Web site for the B-movie guide markup language, FlixML:
As I make plain at the site, FlixML is an XML application whose ostensible purpose is for marking up descriptions of B movies. (You know the type -- usually on-the-cheap flicks with low production values but occasionally some redeeming elements: lighting, sound, and other technical components; offbeat or oddball subject matter; influential to later A-caliber films, and so on.)
There's an ulterior motive to FlixML, which lies in its connection with my book, Just XML, which should be rolling off the press any minute now. (Famous last words!) The site does have some information about Just XML, including the usual links to the Amazon and barnesandnoble.com sites, the book's preface, and the table of contents.
But why FlixML? In brief, I wanted to come up with a single XML application with these characteristics:
(a) Nearly everyone with sufficient resources to access the Web would "understand" it immediately. FlixML doesn't require any arcane knowledge of manufacturing processes, electronic data interchange, document management, database theory, whatever. If you know what a B movie is, you're already equipped to understand FlixML's subject matter; if you don't know or aren't sure what a B movie is, there are examples and explanations at the site.
(b) The application would demonstrate as many features of XML as possible. FlixML's DTD (at http://www.flixml.org/flixml_dtd.html) includes provisions for notations, entities, XLinking elements (extended links and link groups, all the rest). I didn't want to have to create different demonstrators for different purposes, and I didn't want the reader to need constantly to re-orient himself/herself to different contexts.
(c) Selfishly, I simply didn't want to be bored by my own application. (I've been an app developer for almost 20 years, and wanted to think about *something* besides computers and networks.)
The site's not complete yet. Among the significant things it still lacks are:
FlixML documents. There's only one such (not even one which exercises all of FlixML's features) currently there -- http://www.flixml.org/flixml/laughcow.xml -- and it doesn't even describe a real B movie, for heaven's sake. (The title of the fictitious movie is "The Laughing Cow," hence the file name.) In the book, I use document chunks to illustrate specific points, rather than entire documents, so I didn't have anything ready-made to post at the site. The first full-blown FlixML document will cover the 1945 film "Detour."
XSL and CSS2 style sheet(s). *Just XML* went to the publisher before the WD-xsl-19980818 version of the spec became available, although the book includes a chapter on the previous (PR) version. [There's also precious little about namespaces or the DOM, for the same reason.] *Just XML* also includes a chapter on using CSS2; my only excuse for not including any CSS2 style sheets yet is that (as with the full FlixML documents) I've got only scraps so far, to illustrate specific CSS2 features. In progress.
An application (that is, other than JUMBO et al.) for viewing FlixML documents. I'm working on something like this off and on, though, and when it's done it will be available for download from the site. (Don't hold your collective breath, though... still have a day job!)
Once again, I don't presume to represent FlixML as any major breakthrough in XML applications. It's a teaching tool first.
Comments, corrections, suggestions for links, and so on, will be warmly received and gratefully acknowledged at the site.
Thanks for your time,
John E. Simpson
Just XML - coming in September from Prentice-Hall