[xml-h] getting started

Simon St.Laurent simonstl@simonstl.com
Fri, 17 Jan 2003 11:12:16 -0500

We now have 55 subscribers, so it seems like a good idea to start the
conversation.  There are people here from a wide variety of different
backgrounds and interests, just judging by the names I already know.

I mentioned in the welcome message that there is already a lot of work
that has been done in the general field of XML and hypertext, and that
it's come through a variety of projects and communities.  Most but not
all of this work is centered on the Web and Web technologies, though
it's well worth remembering that hypertext and markup are two different
toolkits - their intersection has been _very_ fruitful, but you don't
need markup for hypertext or vice-versa.

Historically, I saw two main threads defining the intersection of markup
and hypertext when I first got into all of this.  HTML had launched
hypertext into widespread public adoption, while HyTime did far more but
had a smaller community. HTML continues to be the main form of hypertext
development that most people work with, while HyTime has had crucial
influence on projects like XLink and Topic Maps.

Right now, I see several contending streams of thought in the XML and
hypertext world:

* XHTML, especially XHTML 2.0 and HLink

* XLink/XPointer

* RDF 

* Topic Maps

The first two, XHTML and XLink, are largely about traversable hypertext
- either the user or the program typically retrieves and displays
resources.  The second two are more concerned with defining
relationships between resources than with traversal semantics per se.

Pretty much all of these projects are in flux and keep evolving.  At
least two new proposals for traversable hypertext (SkunkLink and VELLUM)
have emerged in the last month, and it seems probable that there will be

I don't think we need a roll call of who uses what, but you're all
welcome to build on or contest these comments!
Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org