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Subject: Re: [emergency] Proposal to extend the EDXL TargetArea to allow more flexible targeting/filtering/content routing

On 31 May 2005, at 06:18, Art Botterell wrote:

> My impression is that this proposed change, well-intentioned though it 
> surely is, would be both unnecessary and harmful.

Art - you have over-interpreted my posting. My intent was to provide 
more insights in the
use-case and requirements for EDXL. As it stands today, the EDXL draft 
is not clear on the
purpose - for example (on page 1) the <targetArea> is only described as 
being the "target area for
message delivery". The definition for <recipientAddress> (page 3) 
includes "individual" and is not clear
if this covers a group of people or a device/service.

> Unnecessary because it really just duplicates the existing <keyword> 
> structure under a different name within the <targetArea> block.

No. I assumed nothing about where elements should appear.

> And harmful because it would sanction the use of system-specific 
> (i.e., not universally understood) codes as aliases for geospatial 
> descriptions.

No, these were just "use case" examples. I fully support use of 
international standard codes.

> I'm afraid this proposal is based on a misunderstanding of 
> <targetArea> as the only part of the EDXL Distribution Element (DE) 
> that describes the target audience.  That's simply not the case.

That is not true. I fully understand the scope of the <targetArea> 
element, and I did not even propose any changes to this.

> The suggestion that the existence of intermediate routing devices 
> somehow requires the proposed change also seems misguided.  The whole 
> purpose of the DE is to allow senders to describe where they want the 
> enclosed content to go without needing to specify how each particular 
> transport system will route it, which is something they may not know 
> and may not even be permitted to know (e.g., within secure networks.)

True, and nothing in my posting treats "intermediate routing devices" 

> As an alternative, in the interests of avoiding unnecessary 
> duplication and not diverging from geospatial standards, I'd like to 
> propose that <recipientAddress> be relabeled "<explicitAddress>" in 
> order to clarify that it can refer to any recipient device, whether 
> it's an end-point or a relay (since as noted above, the sender may not 
> always know, or need to know, which it is)... and also that we 
> consider whether <explicitAddress> should have a domain/value 
> substructure consistent with <keyword>, <recipientRole> and 
> <senderRole>, in order to deconflict addresses from various systems.

What about <targetAddress> to mirror <targetArea> (and perhaps even 

> All this is in pursuit of the rule of parsimony, aka the "KISS* 
> Principal."  It would be easy to address each individual use-case by 
> tossing more features into the spec, but that's the road toward 
> incoherence and bloat.  Our first question should always be "is there 
> a way to solve this within the existing structures?"  In this case the 
> answer is "yes."

I think this is the wrong approach. We should have *started* with the 
use cases and requirements, then develop
the semantic and technical solution. The current situation is one where 
we have an "existing structures" and
we are trying to work out if it meets requirements that we have not now 

BTW, terms like "unnecessary", "harmful", "misguided" are very powerful 
and should be used with care ;-)


Dr Renato Iannella
Project Leader, NICTA, Brisbane, QLD, AUSTRALIA
P: +61 7 3000 0484 F: +61 7 3000 0480 M: +61 4 1313 2206
E: renato@nicta.com.au W: http://nicta.com.au

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