[xml-h] picking up the thread

Simon St.Laurent simonstl@simonstl.com
Sun Jan 19 18:01:42 GMT 2003

davep@dpawson.co.uk (Dave Pawson) writes:
>>I don't think readers of hypertext will particularly care where their
>>links come from,
>> and the most we can really hope for is that they'd at
>>least consider selecting links from a context-sensitive pop-up menu,
>>say, rather than remaining forever bound to blue underlined text or
>>its equivalent.
>Yes, that's where I'm trying to get to. Blue Underlined Plus (BUP)
>Hence the end user to me is the person reading the hyperlinked text.
>Equally, the author of a hyperlink is a customer?

At this point in the conversation I think we just have different notions
of who our customers are.

>I tried not to sound locked in. I'm simply trying to see what an
>author might 'like' in an alternative system. A natural starting point
>for me is todays product.

For hypertext, I worry that your choice of "natural starting point" is
severely self-limiting.

>>Has hypertext beyond HTML-style hypertext swept the world?  No.  Does
>>that mean we should stop talking about possibilities beyond HTML-style
>>hypertext?  I really hope not.
>Surely the (crass / base ) idea is to generate something that you
>believe would be taken up by Microsoft or Netscape?

No, not necessarily.  While that would be nice, perhaps, there are
smaller stages worth visiting as well.  XSLT and cousins seem like a
good way to translate what you can do in alternative venues to navigable
approaches in the HTML browser world.

>I believe that to be the maintainers view of the world.
>Equally I don't think this view sells product.

As I think is painfully clear at this point, I disagree completely.
You're welcome to buy a classic welded-hood Rolls-Royce if you like, of

>OK, it doesn't have bells and whistles, but its a 'new' version of
>BUP, or at least an advance on it? Surely that's one thing you/we are
>looking for?

SkunkLink is a workable approach to implementing some hypertext features
in XML.  I've been looking for workable hypertext in XML for five years
now.  Is that an advance?  Yes.  Is it a huge sales prospect?  Does it
really have to be?

>>My own VELLUM work is not intended for that large an audience,
>To which audience do you address your comments then Simon?

VELLUM is addressed to people who are interested in somewhat grander
visions of hypertext than the Web has offered so far.  It's a smaller
community than Web developers and users, pretty certainly.

>I'd hope that any solution, once proffered, can then be considered
>from a couple of other angles, e.g. authoring and maintenance.

I disagree.  If you don't include authoring and maintenance issues
upfront, odds are good you'll never get there.  

On the other hand, I'm willing to say "we're going to ignore maintenance
issues for this particular project upfront" if the alternate choice is
going nowhere.  I'm perfectly happy to support, for example, SkunkLink's
exclusively inline links on those grounds.

>>Selling kludges is definitely difficult.
><grin/> Is it? I know a  company doing very well selling kludges.
>Latest offering is a new kludge every two years!

It's easier to sell kludges when you have a captive audience.  The rest
of us need to set our sights slightly higher.

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org

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