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Subject: RE: [office] Formal Request: ODF 1.2 Document Processing Model Proposal


There are already tacit indications of processing assumptions wherever the specification mentions user interaction or suggests behaviors (e.g., default properties recorded for use when a new table row is introduced).  The problem is that these are not grounded in anything.  (Maybe we should remove them.  That is valuable to discuss.)

Processing Model might be the wrong term.  I was looking for a single noun phrase.  Off-and, I don't think I would be adverse to Document Model and Semantics, but I am wary of confusion with other uses of Document Model in our field. That would be something to hash out.  

However, it is clear that certain decorations that are provided in a document structure are specifically intended to guide particular kinds of processing behavior -- that is in their semantics and sometimes it is their only semantics.  This raises conformance issues and also implications of what kinds of processing are being presumed.  I think some sort of explicit treatment of that is called for.  I don't mean to presume that ODF should impose a processing model (or a DOM), but that classes of processing scenario might need to be recognized to identify what the particular markup is generally directed toward.  Some nomenclature normalization around this may also be essential for conformance definitions that follow the current OASIS model.

I am not sure what I am doing with regard to your (1-2) which is why it is vague.  That is intentional in the current sketch.  It may be too much to incorporate such a model in full-fledged form in ODF 1.2, but I do believe that (good term, thanks) a heuristic should be adopted for our being consistent in the specification.  I was thinking of that as a workable minimum.

I also think that a nomenclature section of the ISO variety is called for either way.  And we need to work with careful definitions and use the terms consistently (e.g., using "XML document" when we are referring to any root-element subdocument of an ODF document structure, as distinct from the ODF document [structure] as a whole, with its variety of other parts and their packagings).

Finally, I agree there are lots of ways to "process" ODF document structures (I am becoming fond of that term), and I don't propose ruling any of them out.  However, there are clearly presumed scenarios around what it all means when the ODF document representation is turned into a perceivable document for human use in office document applications and that the interpretation is in conformance with the semantics for ODF documents.  The challenge is figuring out how any normative language about that occurs in the specification, if at all, and then what it means to say that some (class of processing) is implemented in a conformant way.  

I don't see how we can get by with no semantics at all for the markup (and I don't think you are suggesting that).  The ODF appeals to other standards by reference would seem to bring with them semantics from those specifications in any case.  Or maybe not. With the substitution of OASIS namespaces, I am not entirely clear what is incorporated and what is not. 

I suppose that the OIC TC can go farther in this direction than the ODF specification might, but if there is no meaningful conformance in the ODF spec, it doesn't give anyone much to go on when it comes to assessing conformance of products, proposing ways to improve assurance of interchange and interoperable use, etc. 

Thanks for your response.  I value this conversation with you.

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Durusau [mailto:patrick@durusau.net] 
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 00:52
To: dennis.hamilton@acm.org
Cc: ODF TC List
Subject: Re: [office] Formal Request: ODF 1.2 Document Processing Model Proposal


My puppy woke me up (it is raining in Covington) so I decided to catch 
the early email. ;-)

This is an interesting proposal but I could not decide if you were 

1) A model and additional text about that model to be added to ODF 1.2 or

2) A model that would be used as a heuristic in evaluating the 
completeness/incompleteness of ODF more generally?

Moreover, I am not entirely sure that we need to go towards processing 
models, although they are a critical step in the chain of events that 
lead to a "document" in the sense of something that we view and share 
with others.

The reason why I make that last statement is that I prefer to think of 
ODF as a format that stores information that obviously has an implied 
model of a document, <text:h>, <text:p>, etc. but that does not require 
a particular processing model for the information so recorded. That is 
to say that I can certainly process an ODF document instance with XML 
tools, or I can use tools that are completely innocent of XML in terms 
of their processing of the document (a table based model, for example), 
so long as when they serialize a result to be saved, they do so in the 
correct ODF XML structure. And, of course, they honor the semantics that 
have been defined for some content in the ODF document.

Having said all that, obviously those sort of distinctions are easy to 
say in the abstract and hard to enforce in concrete cases.

Looking forward to hearing more about your proposal.

Hope you are having a great day!


Dennis E. Hamilton wrote:
> I formally request consideration of the proposal "ODF 1.2 Document Processing Model" for ODF 1.2
> The new proposal document with an incomplete sketch is on the wiki at 
> http://wiki.oasis-open.org/office/ODF_1.2_Document_Processing_Model
[ ... ]

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