Re: WWWlogical idea

Mark Waks (
Thu, 8 Dec 94 15:02:05 EST

James writes, about the WWWlogical idea:
>It IS a bad idea, because it mixes levels of abstraction. VRML 1.0 is
>very concrete (like, say, PDF). Mixing logical things into the same
>format would make it one of those weird hybrids like RTF. People would
>tend not to see the difference between concrete and logical object
>specification unless something like the one WWWlogical node was done--
>but in that case, it would be a better idea to say one is explicitly
>embedding another specification language, which if you analyze the
>WWWLogical node is what's really happening (and hence the likely
>proliferation of hint types).

Hmm. Maybe. On the other hand, it really isn't clear to me that mixing
concrete and logical is necessarily destructive -- HTML is a good example
of something that started mildly concrete and has been moving steadily
more logical (as the logical operators get emphasized over the concrete
ones). Granted, that's only a halfway counterexample, since HTML from
the beginning was less concrete than VRML. But it's enough to make me
wary of assertions that people wouldn't get the point; they seem to
manage well enough in HTML.

As for embedding another language -- again, mayyybe; it's an interesting
argument. On the other hand, sticking to one clear syntax style has
considerable advantages in parsing, and it isn't clear to me that the
conceptual difference is so great as to warrant a clearly separated

(Which isn't to say you're necessarily wrong, but I think you need
to strengthen your argument -- I'm simply not convinced by this.)

>> [keyword-based searches]
>I think this would probably be a job for a type of URN; then all the web
>formats could use it, not just VRML.

In principle I think you're right; in practice I worry about the
practicality. We're talking about a lot of information to cram in, of
a very different flavor from what generally goes into URLs, and it's
not clear to me just how real the URN work is yet. I'm certainly
willing to give it some time and see if URNs turn out to solve the
problem for me; this is a large part of why I've back-burnered the
idea. I'm not going to let it go completely until and unless it's
clear that a better solution is on its way, though.

Of course, there's an element of chicken-and-egg problem here. This
specific capability is much more useful for a VRML environment than
for an HTML one, I suspect; at least, I can come up with many potential
uses for it in VRML, but few in HTML. Thus, I'm not sure that there will
be any impetus to really get a solution until VRML is out and real...

But I'm always in favor of more general solutions where appropriate,
and if URIs wind up evolving to deal with the issue, that ought to
do fine...

-- Justin
Who is, in fact, trying to read up on URIs
today for work, but CERN seems to be
having problems...

Random Quote du Jour:

Re: The Sweet and Pleasant Art of Gamemastering
"I am trying to steer events in the game, by force of will. No one is
paying attention to me, but occasionally, just by concentrating, I can
make players do the right thing. Ken Brown is GMing, talking to players,
dealing with situations. I realize near the end that I am dead, but my
spirit is drifting around haunting the game. That's in the contract."
-- a dream of Gordon Dean