Review of the book Structured Documents

In this post I will give a review of each essay in the book Structured Documents, edited by J. Andre, R. Furuta & V. Quint. This collection of essays gives an overview of research into structured documents and declarative formats. The book is considered by many to be a seminal work on structuring documents. And even though it predates XML, it still has a very close relationship to structuring documents using XML. I am hoping that content of this book will help validate ideas I have about how to structure documents, particularly as they relate to my work on a Declarative Format for User Interfaces and Applications, and also provide new insights into effective ways of structuring documents. The essays in the book range in topics from the history of electronic publishing, theoretical foundations of structured documents, approaches to use when representing structured documents, to the semantic and visual semiotic structures of text. Sounds like my kind of book… 🙂

This will be an ongoing entry as I make my way through the book.
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Web Application Packaging

This week I will start looking at how applications are packaged and distributed on both the client-side and server-side. Application packaging is basically the process of bundling an application into some kind of archive format (like a zip file) with instructions (usually in XML) for a host runtime about how to unpack that application and execute it. Application packaging is used on both the server-side, as is the case with J2EE WAR files and EAR files and .Net’s Cab files, and the client-side as is the case with Widgets such as those from Yahoo! and Opera. In this entry I will start comparing the different ways that companies package applications for deployment. The purpose of this excersise is to find the optimum way to package an application that is both lightweight enough for the client-side, and strong enough to cope with larger enterprise size applications on the server-side. This entry will serve as a foundation for a W3C Note on application packaging. It will be published as part of Web Application Formats Working Group. The Latest Draft of the document is available from the w3c dev website. (Please note that I am still working on this entry).
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Web Application Formats Working Group

I’ve been trying to convince QUT to let me on the let me joing the w3c’s Web Application Formats Working Group (WAF WG). The WG is basically looking at the problem that I am interested in: a declarative language for user interfaces and web applications. Their current focus, however, seems is on the XML binding language (XBL), which was originally proposed to the w3c by America Online, and then the SVG working group (sXBL). A second version of XBL, XBL 2.0, is currently being prepared and proposed by the mozilla foundation (and has now been given to the WAF-WG to work on). XBL is a way of binding elements to other resources (such as style sheets, some data/content, components, and scripts). For anyone who has done any web development, the applicaitons of this technology are pretty obvious. XBL has been partially implemented in Firefox (see SVG examples), but to what extent, I don’t know… something else to look into.

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