John Bottoms wrote:
> A little perspective:
> When electronic publishing started to develop we heard a few loud arguments.
> 1. "You have to be a trained editor and know meta-grammars to do
> electronic publishing."
> 2. "That (electronic publishing) is only for "published" (meaning
> structured) documents."
> 3. "All documents must be parsed (a collary of #2), no exceptions!"
> 4. "Hey! That's for paper, not for monitors!" (one of my favorites)
> 5. "You can't make a browser using electronic publishing markup".
> (this one spoken by several evangelists from a company named for a
> certain fruit at a conference. They nearly shouted me down from the
> 6. "Electronic publishing will never catch on for PC users, it's
> for the big text book companies and the military.
> If you were there, you might recall that us "scientists" were deep into
> discussion of context-free grammars, regular expressions and LR parsers.
> None of that mattered. It just didn't work that way.
Based on his observations of the performance and behaviors of major
computer systems of the 1970s, the founder of a certain very wealthy
software company determined in the mid-1980s that to get a fresh new
perspective on computer systems that better supported human interaction,
he would hire systems developers with little or no experience in the
development of operating systems. And we all suffered thru 15 years of
their learning how to make a competent operating system, comparable in
performance to that built in 1990 by the systems professionals employed
by a company named for a certain fruit. (02)
Not all revolutions require or reward the discarding of all prior
knowledge. Evolution requires the discarding of certain prejudices, and
only wisdom, serendipity, or trial and error results in the correct
> A Little Vignette
> I asked the late Bill Tunnicliffe to come to my office to see a web
> browser for unstructured documents. Bill had developed the tagging
> system now in use in markup-style publishing. He was the one who
> conceived of separating control and data for publishing applications and
> he co-developed GML, the predecessor of SGML.
> He dutifully watched my demo of the browser. At the end of the demo his
> comment was, "Yeah, that's interesting, but I don't know why you would
> want to do it."
> There is a newish book out on innovation (Where Good Ideas Come From, by
> Steven Johnson). Steven points out that there are changes that take
> place when successful new ideas are introduced. He says that there is
> oftem resistance from many observers. This includes those who are in
> positions of speaking authority. Observe Minsky's comments about neural
> nets. And there are often several new similar developments in parallel.
> Look at Gray and A. Bell's works on the telephone.
> Earlier, Christianson, in his book, pointed out how change can
> cannibalize earlier systems. We certainly saw that in electronic publishing.
> We should consider some of the observations of these writers. It seems
> that changes in technology have their own minds about what will happen
> and when.
> Electronic publishing was successful because the market had legs,
> despite what the earlier nay-sayers thought, and despite the ongoing
> standards processes at the time. And further, the current products we
> use look very different than what many thought they should have.
> And the users, they are different than what we expected (electronic
> publishing for porn anyone?)
> I cringed the first time I saw markup used for a brochure. Soon, I was
> in with the grubbies doing CD-ROM's and training literature using
> markup, and that without a parser. I even argued in standards forums for
> "Conforming" and "Complying" applications, but it fell on deaf ears.
> My admonition is that we should keep out eyes open and be receptive to
> what the markets want. We just might learn something along the way.
> Happy Holidays to All!!
> -John Bottoms
> FirstStar Systems
> Concord, MA USA
> Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
> Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/
> Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
> Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
> To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
> To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Edward J. Barkmeyer Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263 Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263 FAX: +1 301-975-4694 (06)
"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
and have not been reviewed by any Government authority." (07)
Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (08)