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Subject: RE: [chairs] need your comments on DocMgmt system requirements

+1 on the idea of a "sandbox" in addition to a "final publication system".
As I suggested in my note yesterday [1], I think that much of what we need
can be handled via permissions. I'd rather that we use a single repository
to cut down on the need to move documents from one repository to another and
loose revision tracking info in the process. 

[1] http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/chairs/200402/msg00009.html

-----Original Message-----
From: Drummond Reed [mailto:drummond.reed@cordance.net] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 08:35
To: karl.best@oasis-open.org; 'Norman Walsh'
Cc: 'Chairs OASIS'; 'Jeff Lomas'
Subject: RE: [chairs] need your comments on DocMgmt system requirements


In response to your question about whether TCs would use a "sandbox" or
"loose collaboration" system in addition to a "final publication system", my
answer on behalf of the XRI and XDI TCs is "Yes".

I know I've brought it up before, but the best model I've seen for truly
loose collaboration, and one OASIS could adopt virtually overnight to see
how it would work for different TCs, is wikiwebs. The software is getting
quite mature - see http://moin.sourceforge.net/ for the Sourceforge Moin
Moin wikiweb project and especially http://moinmoin.wikiwikiweb.de/ for an
overview of Moin Moin.

It's possible that adding wikiweb support could virtually eliminate the need
for the doc management system to handle the "loose collaboration" phase,
freeing the resources to all focus on the requirements of the final
publication stage.


-----Original Message-----
From: Karl F. Best [mailto:karl.best@oasis-open.org]
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 7:05 AM
To: Norman Walsh
Cc: Chairs OASIS; Jeff Lomas
Subject: Re: [chairs] need your comments on DocMgmt system requirements

Norman Walsh wrote:
> / "Karl F. Best" <karl.best@oasis-open.org> was heard to say:
> | I've put together a draft functional requirements document for this 
> | doc mgmt system and would like to get your feedback. It is very 
> | important that we have the requirements correct and complete before 
> | we start development of the project -- many of you are developers so 
> | I'm sure that you understand the importance of this.
> High level comments:
> - I don't think these requirements adequately address the distinction
>   between a development system (where TCs actively revise documents,
>   schemas, etc.) and a publication system (where TCs post working
>   drafts, standards, and other "finished" work products).
 >   Is the proposal to develop one or the other, or both. If it's one or
 >   the other, then I think some of these requirements are completely
 >   inappropriate. If it's both, I think it might be useful to specify
 >   them separately. (And whether you imagine having resources to do
 >   them in sequence, or at the same time?)

I've previously thought of having a two-phase system, the first of which
would provide a "sandbox" for the TC members to collaborate in developing a
document. Then once the doc reached a certain stage it would then go into a
more controlled environment with e.g. versioning and edited only by the TC.
I've gotten the impression that most TCs would only use the second phase,
but I could be wrong.

Chairs: would you prefer having both of these phases built into the doc mgmt
system (open collaboration, followed by more rigourous control)? or would
you only use the second?

> - There are several places where the requirements seem to be
>   self-contradictory.

Specifics? This is obviously a draft so needs polishing, so suggestions are

> - I think meeting all of the requirements listed below will be a
>   significant challenge. A more detailed roadmap, showing staged
>   progress with realistic time estimates would be very helpful.

Yeah. That's the next step. But right now I'm just gathering requirements. I
can't very well write a development schedule until I know what it is that
we're trying to build.

I'd also like suggestions on which parts of this are most important. I'm
debating whether we should try a phased development approach (i.e.
provide base functionality now then add a more functionality over time).
Looking through the requirements that I have now, though, I'm not sure which
ones we could put off until later.

Chairs: suggestions please.

> - A number of the features that you describe would seem to be at least
>   partially addressed by open source efforts like G-Forge (an open
>   source version of SourceForge). Are you considering a system like
>   that, or are you expecting to "roll your own" from scratch.

I'm intending for us to build on top of an existing system. That's why I
said "probably CVS". We'd be silly to build something from scratch when the
engine already exists. We'll build some sort of customized web interface on
top of the engine. Once we have the requirements we'll know what it is that
we need to build. I'd also like suggestions for the engine; is CVS the way
to go, or do people recommend something else?

>>OASIS DocMgmt Functional Requirements
>>(17 February 2004)
>>General Description: A repository providing storage/management of 
>>files created by TCs, SCs, and other OASIS groups
> Technical committees need to be able to store and manage a collection 
> of resources. Principal among these resources are documents, but it's 
> reasonable to consider other, related resources as well, including 
> issue lists, archives, news items, and syndicated content.

The doc mgmt system would store any type of file. Not just specs, but also
the other doc types you mention.

Would some of these stored objects be links and not files?

>> o Probably based on CVS
> The requirements for a "development tree" are likely to be somewhat 
> different than the requirements for a "publishing tree". In 
> particular, I would expect published standards to be more-or-less 
> immutable, to have persistent URIs, etc. In a development tree, those 
> constraints might be quite stifling.
> CVS supports a development system very well. It's not immediately 
> clear to me if it supports a publication system equally well.

I'm certainly not a CVS expert, though I'm aware that it was built for
development rather than documents. So it may not be ideal for what we want.

Does anyone have suggestions for a better engine, better suited for doc
development and publishing, upon which to build our system?

>> o A separate area in the repository for each TC/SC/group; both
>>   default and definable hierarchy within each TC area
> Can you elaborate on what you mean by "both default and definable"?
> What do you have in mind for "default"?

When we create a new TC we would define hierarchy branches for such things
as e.g. "drafts", "minutes", "contributions" etc. (TBD). Then the TC chair
could define additional branches as required. We'd want to keep the
hierarchy as flat as possible to keep the URLs short, and we'd want some
consistency, but I want to give the TCs some control over there space.

>> o All documents are permanently archived (only Admin has delete
>>   rights)
> In CVS terms, you can delete a document, but you can always recover 
> it. In a development tree, it's not uncommon to reorganize some code 
> or a document and want to remove modules from the current "head" of 
> the development tree. This goes back to my comment before that the 
> requirements for publication and development are somewhat different.

Maybe this is where the "sandbox" (above) comes in. I don't see the need of
permanently archiving early drafts, but once a doc is checked into the
permanent repository it should be permanent.

>> o All documents are publicly viewable, downloadable
>> o Repository has a web interface for uploading and tree browsing,
>>   searching, and retrieval
>>     + Support for all major browsers
>>     + Listing of single files includes filename, title, description,
>>       date, creator, and language; listing of packages includes the
>>       list of single files in the package
>>     + Search by filename, title, date, creator, and language; and
>>       full-text search of description and contents.
> Does it have other interfaces? Are you describing a front-end for CVS 
> here, or something else? Does it support Web-DAV?

I would expect that most people would want to use a web interface, but I
suppose that power users may want to deal more directly with the engine.
  But there's also certain safeguards (permissions, restrictions on naming,
etc.) that may require that we use an interface. I don't know yet; this may
depend on the engine.

What are the benefits of Web-DAV? (I'm not an expert on this.)

> I think it would make sense to address searching as its own top-level 
> item. In particular, the description above suggests that every item 
> will have a set of metadata that can be searched. Where/when is this 
> metadata created? Can I add my own? Is it expressed in an open format, 
> an XML vocabulary or RDF or a topic map, or is it proprietary? How 
> does this metadata evolve as documents change in CVS?

I see the metadata as comprised of the fields listed above. TBD. I don't
know yet how this would be expressed because we havne't selected an engine

How does this matter? Yes, we should use XML on principle, but I don't see
it as a requirement.

> As for searching the content, that's clearly going to depend on the 
> type of content. What types will the system support?

Obviously not all content will be searchable. If somebody uploads a blob
there's not much we'll be able to do with it besides just store it.

We will store whatever types of files the TCs need to store.

>>Persistent URLs
>> o At file creation the document is assigned a URL according to the
>>   OASIS file naming scheme. The URL will always resolve to the latest
>>   version of the document, regardless of the documents (versioned)
>>   filename; a URL will identify a specification throughout its entire
>>   lifetime from working draft to OASIS Standard. Previous versions of
>>   the document will be accessible via a variant of the URL containing
>>   the version number.
> This is fine for storing standards but it's in conflict with the use 
> of CVS and the reference above to a "definable hierarchy".

Again, I'm not an expert on what you can and can't do with CVS.
Suggestions welcome.

> I think this should apply to published standards and work products, 
> but I don't think it can practically be applied to a development 
> space.

If we have a "sandbox" phase then we wouldn't expect a persistent URL for
those items. Only once a doc is checked into the permanent repository would
we do this.

> This suggests that the interface to the published standards space 
> might require more constraints. I hope that these constraints can be 
> imposed without requiring me to interact with the system only through 
> a web interface.

As above, power users like yourself may wish to talk directly to the engine,
but there will be some constraints for security and consistency.
If it is practical to enforce those constraints via both a web interface as
well as a native interface then we will. But if it's not practical then
we'll have to do everything through a browser.

>>Multiple file types supported
>> o TCs will store both source (e.g. MSWord or HTML) and compiled (e.g.
>>   PDF) versions of each file; i.e. the repository should not allow a
>>   PDF to be checked in without a matching .doc or .html file
> Uhm, what about documents that have a source which is neither a 
> proprietary tool or HTML?

The above is not an exhaustive list. I'm just suggesting that both source
and compiled versions should be in the repository. Any responsible developer
should agree with this philosophy.

> Imposing the requirement that the system check for classes of 
> dependencies between files of different types is going to be tricky, 
> especially as the specs evolve. Suppose I rebuild the PDF, can I check 
> it in without checking in a new source document? What if I only 
> corrected a formatting bug? If I check in a new source, what happens 
> to the PDF?

Yeah, we'll have to figure this out. How do you do it when you write code?

> I think a lot more detail is required in this part of the 
> requirements.

That's why I'm asking for input.

>> o HTML files may include graphics which will be stored with the file
>>   (use relative URLs?)
> What about other cross-document links? What about XML files that refer 
> to both HTML and PDF presentations? What about document trees that 
> consist of multiple chapters in a hierarchy with a common set of 
> figures?
> More detail, please.

More input, please.

>> o use MIME types
>> o A specification may be composed of multiple documents. The entire
>>   package may be uploaded or downloaded in a single operation.
>>   Individual documents in the package may also be uploaded or
>>   downloaded.
> I don't understand what you mean here. Are you suggesting that I might 
> upload a package (as a ZIP file? as a MIME multi-part related stream?) 
> and then several days later upload a new version of one component in 
> that package. Having done so, what "version" does the package have?
> Can I still download the original? Can I download the revised version?

Probably the package will just be an HTML file with links to all of the
components. In that case the package is updated by editing the links in the
package file. Each of the components are maintained by editing them
individually. Each component, as well as the package file, could have its
own version number or date, but the entire set would collectively have to be
versioned. Would this work?

>> o Support for chapters or parts of a multi-part document (with links
>>   between parts); a package could have a ToC with links to the
>>   individual files
> I think any attempt to describe the size and shape of a package ("it 
> will
> a ToC and chapters" or "it will have a starting page and parts") will 
> be problematic. Best just to accept that a multi-part document is a 
> directed graph (a web).

Would my description (above) of a package work for this? The TC can decide
how it wants to structure the multi-part spec.

>> o Support for modular DTDs (e.g. DocBook)
> What does this requirement mean? Do you also mean modular W3C XML 
> Schemas and RELAX NG grammars? Does this requirement differ from the 
> preceding one in a particular way?

Pretty much the same, I think, but I'd be happy to hear other requirements
not met by the above.

>> o The entire package is addressable via a single URL, as are the
>>   individual documents. The package URL will link to an HTML page
>>   listing the package contents.
> Is that an HTML page constructed by the author of the package, or 
> automatically from the content of the package? If it's the latter, 
> what constraints, if any, does that impose on the contents of the 
> package?
>> o Check-in/out based on Kavi user authentication; different
>>   permissions for public, TC members, chair/secretary, etc.
>> o TC members have ??? rights (TBD)
>> o TC Chair and Secretary have create, edit rights for folders and
>>   checkin/out rights for documents in their respective TC area
>> o Admin has admin rights (create, checkin/out, delete of all folders 
>> and
>> o Public has read rights for all documents
> How does "admin" differ from chair/secretary?

"Admin" is the OASIS staff administrator of the dc mgmt system.

>>Kavi integration
>> o Kavi user acct/pswd used for authentication in doc mgmt system
>> o Notification to the Kavi group when a document is uploaded (same as
>>   current Kavi notification)
>> o The current Kavi doc repository is disabled; links within Kavi will
>>   go to this doc mgmt system instead (i.e. Kavi doc repository is
>>   hidden, this one drops in to replace it).
>> o Docs currently in the Kavi repository will continue to be
>>   addressable and viewable by their Kavi URL (allow for migration over
>>   time)
> This requirement and the previous requirement seem to be in conflict.
> Can you explain how "the links within Kavi will go to this doc mgmt 
> system instead" supports the goal that "the Kavi repository will 
> continue to be addressable and viewable by their Kavi URL (allow for 
> migration over time)"?

Right now when you're in Kavi you can click on a link for "doc repository"
and it will take you to that page in Kavi. I'd like it to go to the new doc
mgmt system instead. But we should allow current docs in the Kavi repository
to stay where they're at until the TC wants to move them, so these docs need
to remain addressable by the current URLs.
We'll have to keep the Kavi search/browse accessible, but the default would
go to the new doc mgmt system.

>> o When new Kavi group (TC/SC) is created, a doc mgmt area for that
>>   group and default folders are automatically created
> This goes back to the question of defaults before. What hierarchy do 
> you have in mind, and what are your motivations for creating it? I 
> think it'll be easier in the long run to simply create an empty 
> hierarchy and let the TCs populate it.
> If you have in mind that minutes should go in /minutes and press 
> clippings should go in /press, etc., then I think a detailed 
> description of the default hierarchy is required.

See above. Still TBD, but we need both consistency as well as flexibility.

>>File naming (automation of this done in a later phase; just do this
manually at first?)
>> o Naming and versioning of documents follows OASIS file naming scheme
>> o When a new document is created it will be named according to the
>>   scheme; automated helps to create/assign a name
> This seems to duplicate the requirements expressed under "Persistent 
> URLs". Is it intended to be different? I believe my comments there 
> apply here as well.

Th eintent is to provide (eventually, maybe a bit later) a GUI to help name
new files conformant with the OASIS doc naming scheme. I envision pull-downs
to select each of the components of the name. But this will probably be
later; the file creator would have to manually name the file for now.

>>Localizable interface, with localization to occur in a later phase
>>Later phase: Count/traffic report of downloads (how many people have 
>>downloaded a particular doc?)
> Other later phase items?
>   - Issue tracking?

Sounds like a separate tool. Yes, we need this. Suggestions?

>   - automatic generation of PDF/HTML from source formats?

Yeah, we could add this, but is there a need? Can't people do this already?

>   - validation?

Ditto. Can't you do this already?

But, yes, I see the utility of having validation on checkin, and publishing,
as part of a doc mgmt system.

>   - interactive forms (e.g., the ability to support an interface that
>     asks a number of questions and then builds an appropriate schema
>     customization layer)?

That's the sort of interface I had in mind for the file naming (above).
But I see this as a separate tool for later.

>   - Syndication of announcements
>   - An informal "journal" space (or blog, if you will) for TC members
>     to outline their thoughts and ideas?

Both of those are separate tools. Not sure how those would be part of a doc
mgmt system.

Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.


>                                         Be seeing you,
>                                           norm
> P.S. I'm happy to report that your requirements document can be nicely 
> presented in an open format (plain text, in this case) instead of a 
> proprietary format. I hope that its greater accessibility in this 
> format (and the fact that it's six times smaller) can be used to 
> demonstrate once again the value of open standards.
> (For even more thoughts on this topic, see
>  http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html)

Karl F. Best
Vice President, OASIS
office  +1 978.667.5115 x206     mobile +1 978.761.1648
karl.best@oasis-open.org      http://www.oasis-open.org

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