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Subject: RE: [emergency] Groups - EDIT of emergency-CAPv-1.1

I completely agree with Rex. We are at a point where we can no longer
assume "black box" standards will support CAP messages as those
standards continue to evolve. 
I am concerned that the issue of change management visibility is
non-existent with any other standards that interact with CAP. A good
example of that is when W3C moved to XML 2.0, while CAP is XML 1.0
based. Had the W3C change not been backyard compatible it could have
created quite a mess, and not just for CAP but the GJXDD, IEEE 1512, et
al. as well. Changes made to any of the "GJXDM-proxy/imported
standards/code lists" may produce an unexpected reaction that could
severely limit system performance.


-----Original Message-----
From: Rex Brooks [mailto:rexb@starbourne.com] 
Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 9:37 AM
To: Ham, Gary A; acb@incident.com; emergency@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: RE: [emergency] Groups - EDIT of emergency-CAPv-1.1

I don't have any objections to this practice for design. My concerns

1) Where do we get our external code lists/tables? We already know that
there will be more than one single source since CBRN is a category unto
itself, as are several GJXDM-proxied/imported standards/code lists (some
of which we need to pay for unless there is an agreement between
standards bodies that provides for sharing these resources of which I
happen to be unaware) and  then there is IEEE 1512 which also entails
acquiring three (3) standards. We can't refer to black boxes, after all,
not if we wish to perform due diligence, and even if it were possible to
extend blind trust for our fellow standards bodies, I would dig my heels
in on that for my own peace of mind.

2) How do we reliably reference these external code lists/tables? I can
guarantee that I will recommend against any proxy mechanism that
contains the chokepoints I have already identified, and I don't think we
really want to incur the network messaging overhead required to convert
and validate 1512 alone, notwithstanding the other little black holes
into which our parsers and validators can disappear.

My points converge on a conclusion I have been coming to for quite a
while now as I explored the twists and turns of these various
vocabularies. That conclusion is that we need a reliable way to abstract
these code lists out of our work and confine the whole distribution
element to a slightly higher level of abstraction, somehow.

Of course, it is the somehow that has me stumped. All I really know at
this point is that if we continue attempting to cover details of
vocabularies for every constituency in the distribution header, the darn
thing is going to be so complicated as to be inoperable period, let
alone interoperable.

We have neither the time nor the resources to do that, so we might want
to focus on how to solicit aid from the other standards bodies and
governmental offices to resolve some of these issues so that we can
reliably reference these external code lists/tables and harmonise the
top level base or core ontology of Event/Incident Types in such a way
that the distribution element only needs to include those references
while the particular taxonomies for specific incidents/events that
belong to those top level types can safely be relegated to the body of
the message.

This same advice applies to the simultaneous discussion we are having in
regard to the area/areaDesc components.


At 8:33 AM -0500 3/18/05, Ham, Gary A wrote:
>I agree with Mike, assuming that the actual XML messages remain human 
>readable (with the possible exception of the polygons.)  Encapsulation 
>of concerns is a good idea, particularly for unstable categorization 
>Gary A. Ham
>Senior Research Scientist
>Battelle Memorial Institute
>540-288-5611 (office)
>703-869-6241 (cell)
>"You would be surprised what you can accomplish when you do not care 
>who gets the credit." - Harry S. Truman
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Daconta, Michael [mailto:Michael.Daconta@dhs.gov]
>Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 7:11 AM
>To: acb@incident.com; emergency@lists.oasis-open.org
>Subject: Re: [emergency] Groups - EDIT of emergency-CAPv-1.1
>Hi Everyone,
>In terms of general principles, you must also weigh the maturity of the

>specification and the probability for the code tables needing to be 
>updated. Due to the broad scope of the distribution element, I believe 
>the probability for changing the code tables is high. Therefore the 
>principle of "separation of concerns" would win out (over simplicity) 
>and make external code tables a better choice. Regards,
>- Mike
>Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Art Botterell <acb@incident.com>
>To: emergency@lists.oasis-open.org <emergency@lists.oasis-open.org>
>Sent: Fri Mar 18 00:06:51 2005
>Subject: Re: [emergency] Groups - EDIT of emergency-CAPv-1.1
>Kon, I don't suppose you expect to win my support by attacking me 
>personally... so maybe I'm not clear on what you're trying to achieve 
>at this point.  However, if you want to change the spec, all you need 
>to do is persuade a majority of the TC.
>I have a feeling that underlying this may be some sort of general 
>stylistic preference for external tables over enumerations.  If so, 
>maybe we ought to discuss that as a general principal, since we use 
>enumerations in several places in CAP and in still more in the EDXL 
>draft.  If not, maybe you could help me understand by clarifying under 
>what circumstances you'd prefer an enumeration to an external table and

>how this circumstance differs from those.
>At this point my personal opinion remains that the current formulation 
>is a valid use of the enumeration facility within XML and the simplest 
>way to express what we mean... and that simpler is better.
>But again, flailing me for not agreeing with you isn't just unpleasant,

>it's pointless.  Why not let all points of view be heard, and then let 
>the TC process decide?
>- Art
>At 12:05 PM -0800 3/17/05, Kon Wilms wrote:
>>On Tue, 2005-03-08 at 10:51 -0800, Art Botterell wrote:
>>>   Well, strictly speaking I don't... the burden of persuasion is on

>>> the  proponent.  However, I've tried to explain why I don't think  
>>> this  change is necessary or appropriate at this time.  Whether or  
>>> not you  consider mine to be a "good" answer is up to you.
>>You've given a lot of 'no' answers but never any solid reasons.
>>>   Anyway, now that this has been recast as a 2.0 issue we can 
>>> consider
>>>  it in the context of EDXL and at a more appropriate time.
>>Ah, the push-off. Which is exactly how this concluded the last time I 
>>brought it up. Except now we actually have a real-life example. What a

>>waste of time.
>>>   >'Things will not interoperate' doesn't qualify as a valid  
>>> >answer  (or excuse).
>>>   Excuse me?  If interoperability isn't a good answer/excuse, what 
>>> is
>>>  it we're doing here?
>>See my first comment.
>>>   Maybe we need to review the purpose of the "category" element: 
>>> it's
>>>  to provide a simple and predictable taxonomy of events that 
>>> automated
>>>  systems can use to select an appropriate response to receipt of a  
>>> particular message.  CAP also provides the "event" element to permit
>>>  free-form descriptions, but those aren't predictable enough for 
>>> many
>>>  implementions to rely on.
>>What does a predictable taxonomy of events have to do with a lookup 
>>table? A lookup table is just a structure for said data, it can't 
>>any level of complexity besides the fact that you have to implement
>>>   >This is right up there with accusing me of using this to push an

>>> >implementation issue to the standards level. What's up with this?
>>>   This pattern of casting a professional discussion in personal 
>>> terms
>>>  is one I've seen increasingly in this TC, and I think it's really  
>>> regrettable.
>>Then stop doing it. Your comments were out of line. I am not paid to 
>>on this group and my membership dues are on my own personal dime.
>>>   No such general equation is suggested.... but your previous note  
>>> struck me, at least, as suggesting pretty clearly that anyone would

>>> be able to add values whenever they were ready and that only "if 
>>> Dave
>>>  needs to be interoperable" would such additions be submitted to the

>>> standards process.  If I misunderstood you, I apologize, but if I  
>>> have that right then, yes, I believe it could lead to a significant

>>> loss of interoperability.
>>As it is, there is a loss in interoperability because the spec does 
>>currently have a CBRN category. So this is a moot point. At least with

>>abstracting these element lists you keep the core clean and keep the 
>>lists potentially easily extensible without many code-level changes 
>>being required.
>>Making a change to a table although still out of spec has much less of

>>an impact on parsers (by parsers I mean machine) than does making a 
>>change to the core schema, because by the nature of implementing a
>  >parser for tables you are forced to handle these element structures 
> in
>>a way that makes it easy to modify if new elements are introduced (as 
>>opposed to having to handler code at all).
>>>   Neither.  I'm just not yet persuaded that there's a substantial  
>>> problem here in the first place.  And philosophically I'm concerned

>>> about the potential water-muddying consequences of making 
>>> unnecessary
>>>  changes.
>>If you fail to be convinced then I quite literally give up.
>>I have already wrappered what I consider 'bad spec' at the code level.
>>At least I can deal with new elements now as they are introduced, and 
>>not have to make any changes to my code. I can't say if this is the 
>>same about other implementations (but that is their problem, right?).
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