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Subject: [humanmarkup] Notes on Requirements

Title: Notes on Requirements
Hi Everyone,

Clock's ticking.

Notes on Requirements

In the course of working with the WSIA on their Requirements Gathering Process, and comparing it to the workproducts of other TCs in OASIS, which do not all include Requirements or Glossaries in their work, I have come to several conclusions. Some of these conclusions I will pass along to OASIS. I doubt my conclusions will meet with universal acceptance or agreement, but I thought I would share them here first.

I will try to order these conclusions by importance.

1. HumanML and TC-Specific Element/Attribute Names and Glossaries: One way to ensure that our distinct vocabularies do not conflict with vocabularies that have different specific usages for the same term is to take advantage of namespaces by adding the TC and/or Human Markup Language Namespace acronym as a Hyphenated prefix to the terms we use for Elements/Attributes.

Thus for HumanMarkup, our term for the emotion of sorrow would be: huml-sorrow and would be included both in our schemata in a consistent way, and also in the documents in our namespace, specifically, in our glossary both as huml-sorrow and as sorrow without any hyphenated prefix citing a public resource namespace for a standard definition.

(I intended to cite the OED, but a quick search revealed that a yearly license for this service is $795, and decided against it. I believe they may have a problem maintaining their position as the definitive resource for the English Language under these terms, but that is another matter.)

This should make application development easier and less messy, and make APIs easier to create in ways that will ensure interoperability with other HumanML apps.

This is the cheap and easy way to ensure that our xml vocabularies do not conflict with those of other languages, and to ensure that our profiling information compilations are clearly demarcated for official purposes. This means that we can establish explicit accountability in identification, authorization and certification usages that employ our schemata as accessed by our namespace and any repositories that claim humanmarkup compliance in a way that NIST can easily verify.

2. For HumanMarkup we need to modularize our Requirements Documents practices as well as our language schemata. This means that we need separate requirements, use-case based where possible or feasible, for each of our projected TC-developed schemata. When I say Requirements documents practices, what I mean is how we collect, document (verb), organize, winnow or narrow-down our focus, and write Requirements Documents as blueprints for developing schemata.

2.1. We can help make the process of arriving at useful Requirements by setting a Requirements Procedure for Requirements Documents practices. I know this sounds redundant but there is a difference between the two.

Having a procedure to follow, like a checklist, guarantees that certain important elements are included in all of our Requirements Documents by default when examining the target territories, such as Human Physical Characteristics Descriptions for the Human Physical Characteristics Description Markup Language.

However, having a procedure does not prevent inclusion of lesser known aspects in a target territory that do not meet the first level procedural criteria for consideration, such as, perhaps, Non-Biological Virtual Human Physical Characteristics which might be needed to distinguish clearly which apparently Human digital representations in a given digital environment are actually agents, rather than current interactive Human users, if that was deemed to be a significant requirement.

(This is an actual consideration, which is why I mention it. I don't have an answer because it hasn't been investigated yet, and it may not need to be when we look at the HPCDML Requirements later. This is only as an example.)

2.2 In addition to a Requirements Procedure checklist, we might want to consider certain specific requirements that we may want or need to specify concerning how HumanMarkup Data can be accessed, by whom and when in terms of Transport Protocols and Event Mechanisms. This is uncertain at present as to whether it is going to become an issue or not. However, if we do it at all, we should do it for all of our specifications.

My personal feeling is that, like almost all other TCs, ducking this issue and the IPR issues around who owns the data (and when ownership is transferred) that is going to be Looked Up through UDDI or RDF or some Convention/Architectural Style and then will be transmitted through SOAP-RPC or some Transport Protocol Mechanism that interoperably enables consistent Web Services is the only way to make progress in getting practical work done, which will probably result in an accumulation of best practices that eventually get codified...Somehow. I don't like it, but it looks inevitable, and has the great virtue of allowing us to feel some sense of achievement in the meanwhile.

However, since we are something of an anomoly in OASIS as is, we really have nothing to lose by playing the foil to this collective head-burying behavior. Just thought I would mention it. Feel free to ignore me.

3. We should seek to declare the minimum number of Elements and Attributes necessary. We should probably not get extensive in our Requirements for the Basic Human Markup Language Schema, but we should concentrate on making sure that it includes the necessary building blocks to use in making the downstream schemata for the application areas we have been reviewing.

This means that the important Elements of simpleType and complexType for our application areas need to be included, and only those should be included in the Basic Schema. Therefore we need to ask of each Element and Attribute from application areas rather than from the basic set represented in the Schema Toolkit (which may need to be reduced for terms more appropriate to subsequent schemata).

In particular I am thinking that the physical descriptors we have should be reduced such that any which can be derived as a subset can be set aside for now. That overall area, except for those areas which are congruent with the top level of existing systems such as VRML, CAESER, Basic Law Enforcement, HR-XML, and Basic Medical Description, ought to be left for the Human Physical Characteristics Description Markup Language. I will attempt to clarify that in a few days at most, as I intend to work up a first draft, straw man edit of our existing HM.Requirements document with further explanations.

3.1. Our Basic Human Markup Language Schema should be thought of as solely those elements and Attributes which are required for minimum interoperability with existing systems and which can be used to build our modular schemata.

So, one of our tasks in this first round of requirements is to define what the next most important application area schemata will be, and offer grouping terms for these application areas. For example, Conflict Resolution Applications Schema, Diplomatic Negotiations Applications Schema, Artifical Intelligence Agents Schema, etc. This is the only set of Elements and Attributes that I think we need to add to a basic set.

Those are the main issues that struck me as I have gone along observing this process in more than one TC.

I will try to get the straw-man Requirements Document Update out by Wednesday, and just a short reminder, however far along you may be, we need to get these lists of ours submitted along with any application-area scenarios which could be developed into formal use-cases to support our first formally derived Requirements Document by Friday, March 15, 2002, this coming Friday.


Rex Brooks
GeoAddress: 1361-A Addison, Berkeley, CA, 94702 USA, Earth
W3Address: http://www.starbourne.com
Email: rexb@starbourne.com
Tel: 510-849-2309
Fax: By Request

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