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Subject: Syntax Free Models - was: [Fwd: Oracle Input for Core ComponentsWG]

This message is timely because I am having a great deal of confusion
with the term 'Syntax Free Model'.  I asked this question a few times
this week and I haven't gotten a definitive answer.

In my mind everything has syntax, whether it is EDI, XML, UML, Visio,
postscript or language.

As an example, if we look at a personal name:

	Honorable John Quincy Doe, PHD

    A personal name can consist of text or optional prefix, followed
    by a mandatory first name, followed by an optional middle name, 
    followed by a mandatory last name, followed by an optional suffix.

	Other languages will have slightly different syntax.

    CORRECT FORM:  Honorable John Quincy Doe, PHD

(b) XML

    <!ELEMENT personalname (#PCDATA | (prefix?, firstname, middlename?,
			   lastname, suffix?))>


	<personalname>Honorable John Quincy Doe, PHD</personalname>



(c) X12 EDI
    Not sure how IC's are actually done in X12 but I believe the
    correct form is:

	*N1*Honorable John Quincy Doe, PHD*


I believe this is a very important issue and is critical to what
we are doing.  If we are truely developing specifications to help
the SME's, we need to develop them in a way that SME's, who have very
limited and sometimes no IT budgets, can use and understand.

I believe that ebXML can be a very important initiative for the
globalization of electronic commerce especially to the 'small guys'.  
The big guys can afford to do whatever they want.  With XML we 
can provide a mechanism to allow the 'small guys' to play very
nicely with the big guys.

After a week I have some fears.  I think we need the following from
the 'generals' to the 'troops':

1.  What is a definitive goal of ebXML?  That message isn't clear,
    at least to me - I am a little thick headed at times.  In various
    conversations throughout the week, I got different ideas about
    who and what ebXML was being designed for.

2.  We need a common written vocabulary of terminology.  Terms
    like 'model', 'methodology', SME, 'big EDI', 'little EDI', etc.
    need to be defined because we aren't all coming from the
    same background.  Also, in this vocabulary, a list of acronyms
    is also needed.  Quite a few acronyms were invented this week.
    When documents are provided to the public they will need a
    reference.  I have a list of XML acronyms available at

3.  Quite a few 'blanket' derogatory statements were made in public forums
    about XML professionals and/or EDI professionals this week.
    This is very non-productive - we are all 'professionals' and we come
    to the table individually with individual weaknesses, strengths and
    diverse backgrounds.  


Now that I have ended my soapbox, I do believe that this week was
productive and there are a lot of enthusiastic and capable professionals
that have the wherewithal to make this work and last week was a very
pleasant experience.  The Core Group is great and worked well together.


Betty Harvey                         | Phone: 301-540-8251 FAX: 4268
Electronic Commerce Connection, Inc. | 
13017 Wisteria Drive, P.O. Box 333   | 
Germantown, Md.  20874               |
harvey@eccnet.com                    | Washington,DC SGML/XML Users Grp
URL:  http://www.eccnet.com          | http://www.eccnet.com/xmlug/

On Fri, 4 Feb 2000, Bob Haugen wrote:

> >gif file attached
> Gif much better,  thanks Achim and Garret.
> Garret, could you comment on how Oracle's Party model
> relates to other well-known Party models, e.g. David Hay's
> in _Data Model Patterns_ ISBN 0-932633-29-3 and
> Martin Fowler's in _Analysis Patterns_ ISBN 0-201-89542-0?
> Thanks,
> Bob Haugen
> Logistical Software LLC

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