SC34, the committee on Document Processing and Description Languages at ISO/IEC JTC1, had its half-yearly meeting in Juju Island in Korea. They are trying to alternate between East and West to not penalize participants: SC34 has a particularly strong participation from East Asia. I was not able to attend, at the end, but here are some pointers to the online material about it.
Here are streaming audios (MP3 sorry) of my comments to WG1 that give some of the background and rationale for the proposed parts. You can listen to it in conjunction with the text. (I am not sure that this briefing is grippingly dramatic: I try to speak paced in intro material to make it easier for non-native speakers. But it might be interesting for people to hear some committee presentation.)
- Right click/Control Click here to download file 1 —Introduction
- Right click/Control Click here to download file 2 —XSLT2 query language binding
- Right click/Control Click here to download file 3 —Properties and better SVRL
- Right click/Control Click here to download file 4 —Compound document validation
- Right click/Control Click here to download file 5 —Enhanced extension (inclusion) mechanism
- Right click/Control Click here to download file 6 —Misc
Anyone interested in the Schematron revision is very welcome to make comments on this, either on the Schematron love-in mail-list, or the dsdl-comment mail-list. It seems that WG1 is happy to proceed and so the next step is to prepare a new draft of the ISO Schematron with all the changes: that then gets slapped around and voted on an changed according to National Body votes.
The DSDL.org website has been updated to include more recent versions of the various standards. The SC34 DSDL standards are all available free from ISO and are all royalty free. There are (I believe) no closed-source implementations of any of them, and we have been looking at some exciting options recently for integrating the major open source implementations as part of a larger project. More on that in a few weeks...
I am looking forward to seeing the new draft of ISO DSDL part 5 Data Type Library Language which does datatypes right (from my point of view.) In particular, it is designed to allow arbitrary formats to be treated as datatypes: for example, dates in dd-mm-yyyy or mm/dd/yyyy formats. XSD's approach fundamentally anti-markup: the idea that some application will translate your data into some standard formats and then format it out at the other end. Part 5's approach is that the user can decide what notation they way, and because they relate it to some standard format, applications can still understand the data.
Other interesting public documents from the SC34 meeting include:
- Topic Map Query Language (draft) which includes XQuery-isms like FLWR expressions
- Topic Map Constraint Language (draft)
- Topic Map Reference Model (draft from May) had slipped past me, and will be interesting to KR people
- Part 1- overview (draft) of ISO DSDL, Document Schema Description Languages, which includes RELAX NG and Schematron
- Japanese defect report on OOXML for action at SC34 with Ecma
- Japanese defect report on ODF for submission to OASIS
- WG1 defect report in ISO DSRL
- Report from WG2 (fonts) who have wrapped up quite a few project recently including with OpenFont (which is the ISO standard for TrueType/PS fonts): they are taking an interested in the office standards' support for fonts now
- The ISO 10036 Glyph Registration registrar has notified that the overload from webcrawlers has made service of the glyphs impossible for the moment
The final day is Tuesday. The next SC34 meeting is scheduled for Prague in March, piggybacking on the XML Prague conference.
Cheju (or Jeju) Island seems very nice from the pictures. I briefly dated someone from there, so it intrigues me. Some material on the web suggests that it used to be a kind of matriarchy, where once men came of age they were likely to be banished to other islands, only returning on invitation from the women.
Someone recently grumbled that the ISO meetings were junkets to far-off resorts. An off- season hotel midway between China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan in taiphoon season may seem like a junket to, say, an American, but it seems very practical to me as a resident of the Eastern hemisphere. Same time zone as Australia: excellent! The fact is that it is almost impossible for CJK domain experts to participate as equal participants with Westerners by teleconferencing: the days when technical expertise automatically means education in a Western university and consequent fluency are long-gone.
This is something that I have explored multiple times in this blog: not only do you have the fluency problem, but you also have to cope with respect- and shame-based cultures, and with different national decision-making processes. To think that a Western-style adversarial debating/advocacy approach will just work is fatuous. Of course, there are also rival cultural expectations from other participants too: I think Australians often want to cut through red tape and see forward motion fast, for example. And I think there are other countries who regard grandstanding and stalling tactics as legitimate, whereas others regard that as bad faith participation. Man is a social animal, and socializing is almost the only way of bridging many of these gaps.