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


I think your concerns are well founded - too much abstraction produces a
lack of usability. However, I find that in this case there is a need for a
level of abstraction that will enable us to solve the problems related to
context and core components - 30 million different "core" components also
produces a lack of usability!

My feeling is that we need to model the core components in a syntax-free
way, and publish them as such, fully documented. This seems to be the
approach the group is taking. I fully agree with it. In doing the eCo
semantic recommendations work, it became very clear that decisions about
what is an attribute and what is an element entirely depend on
implementation considerations, and cannot be standardized in a way that is
useful to all. (Not to mention that huge pain that an argument about these
issues would entail in a group laregly made up of people coming from the EDI
world). I think we have identified a powerful new approach to these issues,
and that it is incumbent on us to make it simple enough to be usable.
Syntax-neutrality is a big part of this.

We *must* produce a compliant set of XML schemas that cover the most common
contexts and business messages. I think it would also be nice to have some
running code that would allow you to describe your own context and how you
will be using the core components (what modifications are needed in your
industry, processes, etc.), that could be used to generate ebXML-compliant

If we don't produce such a thing, no one will use what we have done. But I
think we need to do both things: syntax-neutral data models, and an
instantiation for most folks to use.

I speak from experience - with CBL, there are many, many compromises that I
have to make in order to create single schemas for single message types, and
I am never happy with the result, because there is no awareness of context
in schema the way it exists today.

As I told you, I am working on writing up an envisioned instantiation that
uses both an XML representation of the core components, and the context
descriptions, to show how simple and useful our approach could be. I will
send this out as soon as I have time to get it finished.


Arofan Gregory 

-----Original Message-----
From: Betty Harvey [mailto:ebxml@eccnet.eccnet.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2000 8:39 PM
To: Bob Haugen
Cc: 'ebxml-core@lists.oasis-open.org'
Subject: RE: Syntax Free Models - was: [Fwd: Oracle Input for Core

On Sat, 5 Feb 2000, Bob Haugen wrote:

> However, I understood from the title ebXML that the core
> syntax would be XML.  So I guess I agree with your
> implied skepticism.

I went back and looked at my notes and I have two different terminologies
being used "syntax free modeling" and "syntax neutral approach".  I am
confused about how you can do either and create consistant and usable XML
but I want to hold off judgement until I get a definitive answer what
"syntax neutral approach" really means.

Here is my major concern.  In SGML world there was a lot of theoretical
ideas that caused consumers eyes to glaze over.  I am seeing the same
thing happening in various sectors of the 'new' XML world.  SGML would
have been adopted much more widely if it was it wasn't presented to the
potential users in a way that it was understandable instead of esoteric
terms. I just hope we aren't repeating history here.

> >The Core Group is great and worked well together.
> I'm so happy to hear that.  For those of us who could not
> attend, would you please go on?

I will be glad too!  I believe that Lisa Shreve will be sending
out formally what was accomplished and the deliverables.  

Lisa did a wonderful job keeping the group focused.  The Core Component
group had the largest attendence.  There were approximately 30 people who
attended the meeting representing 10 countries.  Lots of different
industries were represented.  The room was inadequate for the size of the
group and at times there was standing room only.

The group broke up into two groups, Business Process and Core Components.
There were a total of 8 deliverables that were identified by the groups. 
People signed up to work on all eight deliverables.  

Talking to individuals in other groups I got that feeling that they
also made great strides.

I don't believe the technical challenges are overly tough.  Getting
agreement on the technical approach will be tough.  


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/

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