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Subject: FW: [chairs] DocBook TC position on Kavi


Rob Philpott 
-----Original Message-----
From: Philpott, Robert 
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 4:53 PM
To: 'Norman Walsh'; 'Karl Best'; 'chairs@lists.oasis-open.org'
Cc: 'docbook-tc@lists.oasis-open.org'; 'patrick.gannon@oasis-open.org'
Subject: RE: [chairs] DocBook TC position on Kavi

Hi Karl - I would like to comment that Norm's concerns have also been
discussed many times among the co-chairs, editors, secretary, and web site
maintainer of the SSTC as well. Norm's memo reads as though it almost could
have been written by us. I agree with Norm that real urgency needs to be
placed on addressing them.  

Thanks for listening...

Rob Philpott 
RSA Security Inc. 
The Most Trusted Name in e-Security 
Tel: 781-515-7115 
Mobile: 617-510-0893 
Fax: 781-515-7020 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Norman Walsh [mailto:ndw@nwalsh.com]
> Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 12:55 PM
> To: Karl Best; chairs@lists.oasis-open.org
> Cc: docbook-tc@lists.oasis-open.org; patrick.gannon@oasis-open.org
> Subject: [chairs] DocBook TC position on Kavi
> [I appreciate that this message comes a few days after the publication
> of a set of requirements for a document repository. Nevertheless, the
> DocBook TC felt that it would be useful and appropriate to report the
> position that we have been developing for a month or so.]
> The DocBook Technical Committee would like to express its continued
> frustration with the document management part of the Kavi system
> implemented at OASIS. We find the system to be technically inadequate
> at best and flatly broken at worst. Beyond the technical issues, we
> are concerned that it is an awkward, difficult to use system and
> consequently we fear that it may be driving users away from OASIS.
> This is not only bad for our committee, it is bad for the consortium
> as a whole.
> It is our unanimous opinion that the Kavi system as currently
> implemented has critical flaws, and that it is imperative that they be
> corrected. We are aware that some of these issues have been brought to
> your attention before by individuals, but we would like to reiterate
> them here as part of our committee position.
> We draw your attention to the following technical issues.
> 1. The document repository is simply broken. Although chairs and
>    secretaries can organize documents into a hierarchy, this hierarchy
>    is not exposed to the general public. This frustrates any attempt
>    that the committee might make to organize the documents for the
>    public.
> 2. The Kavi system forces documents to have automatically generated
>    URIs that are meaningless and difficult to remember. Even if we
>    were able to accept the URIs generated, it is impossible to predict
>    the URI that will be assigned to a document when it is placed in
>    the repository. This makes it impossible for the committee to
>    decide offline, for example at a face-to-face meeting, where and
>    how documents will be published.
> 3. Another consequence of the fact that URIs are generated by the
>    system rather than assigned by the committee with responsibility
>    for the material is that it is impossible to publish specifications
>    that contain internal cross references. An HTML version of a
>    specification, for example, cannot contain a link to the PDF
>    version.
> 4. This also makes it impossible to publish a web of documents. A
>    large document could not be broken into chapters, for example, with
>    navigational links between the chapters.
> 5. It follows further that the DocBook Committee *cannot* publish the
>    DocBook DTD on the OASIS site. DocBook is a modular DTD and the
>    URIs of the modules must be predictable. In fact, as a general
>    rule, it would seem that no Technical Committee can publish any
>    schema, stylesheet, or other work product of any reasonable
>    complexity on the OASIS site other than as a zip package or
>    something similar for the user to download and install locally.
> 6. The OASIS email system is unable to deal with properly formatted
>    MIME messages. It simply discards their contents and forwards a blank
>    message to the list. This is causing considerable frustration and
> wasted
>    effort. We observe also that several individuals have approached the
>    committee to express frustration with the mailing list software.
>    This situation is inhibiting communications within OASIS TCs thereby
>    slowing down work by its members.
> 7. The design of the OASIS web server is insufficient for the needs of
>    the DocBook Technical Committee. Before the migration to Kavi, the
>    DocBook TC maintained an area of web space on the server containing
>    almost 4,000 individual pages. No member of the public can be
>    expected to navigate a web space of that size without some
>    navigation system for the pages that are in the space, but the Kavi
>    design offers no mechanism for such an information architecture.
> In addition to solving these technical issues, we feel that OASIS
> should give serious consideration to the overall design of the site.
> We are concerned that the current design frustrates users ability to
> quickly and conveniently find the information that they need. (Try,
> for example, to find XML Catalogs Committee Specification or the
> minutes of the second UBL meeting)
> This frustration, we fear, will make them less likely to return to the
> OASIS site thereby diminishing the organizations important role in the
> industry. Several TC members have already noticed this effect on
> themselves or others in their organizations.
> We recognize that technical committees have many different needs. Kavi
> provides facilities for electronic balloting, membership maintenance,
> and meeting scheduling that are valuable. But it is demonstrably
> inadequate in some very key ways: in the presentation of committee
> work products, in the publication of schemas and other ancillary
> materials, in the design and organization of technical committee web
> sites, and in its inability to provide reasonable looking public URIs.
> We close with the simple observation that these issues, both the
> technical and non-technical, are driving committees to establish
> entirely independent web sites in order to better serve their user
> communities. It would seem clear that OASIS must re-prioritize some
> staff duties and ensure that immediate, dramatic action is taken if it
> wishes to reverse this trend.
> Sincerely,
> Norman Walsh,
> For the DocBook Technical Committee[1]
> [1] http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/docbook-tc/200402/msg00012.html

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