RE: XML for 3D geometry and objects
On Fri, 21 Jan 2000, Bill dehOra wrote: > > : I forgot to mention that Macromedia were part of the VML > : proposal, so I > : guess we'll see VML in their products too. I wonder what > : this'll mean for > : Shockwave & Flash. > > Certain death I hope. Which changes the 80/90% figure greatly. All the > companies involved in VML are also involved in authoring the SVG drafts. 3 > of the 9 VML authors are also authoring SVG, if my count is correct. Sounds > like spread betting. Can you animate in VML? > This week one of my clients pointed me at www.cartier.com and told me he wanted a site like that. I understand why he likes the site it's Cool with a capital C. It's also very poorly designed IMHO, and while part of this is the fault of the designer, some of it is caused by inherent problems with Flash. Since the site is designed as one big movie the back button on your browser is broken, you can't bookmark within the site, and you can't link to part of the site. As well, no search engine can index it. It seems like having a markup based vector language could solve a lot of these problems; for that matter making Flash a HyTime application would be a good start. But there are some subtle but very important problems that don't go away easily. What are the advantages of using xml (there had better be some, because there are some serious drawbacks in terms of complexity). Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that some of the big ones are: 1. xml can become a lingua france for defining the syntax of languages exchanged across the internet, allowing for a (hopefully high) degree of interoperability 2. Because xml allows you to embed a lot of information about the structure of a document it is easier to define the semantics of specific xml applications in a way that is recognizable by computers. This is only possible because of a separation of presentation and content. 3. given 1 and 2 above, the web (really the tools that present, index, etc. the web) can become much smarter. The standard example seems to be "find me the best price out there on a pair of blue jeans". OK, so this is basic stuff- we all know this. But the question is how can you define a Flash-like mechanism that preserves these advantages. An example- I want to build a site as one big animated vector movie. (Or for that matter I want my entire site to be one big navigable piece of streaming video, which presents even worse difficulties). You can tell me it's a bad idea until you're blue in the face, but if I'm like most of my clients it's not going to do any good. So, no problem here, right- since this is xml based, we can link to specific frames in my movie. And all that cool scalable vector text will be encoded as unicode, right? We can use nested elements or attributes to encode both the semantics and the presentation of the visual elements. We could use a separate document to describe the presentation of this document. This is difficult, but not impossible. But of course, this all depends on the makers of authoring tools making good decisions as well. Hmm.. Adobe GoLive... every other "WYSIWIG" html authoring program... pardon me if I'm not so hopeful. But still it seems that we could define a scalable vector language in a way that preserved the advantages of xml. Particularly important would be addressing- I want an element <product>Blue Jeans</product> in my xml document but I also want to be able to animate the letters independently. Again HyTime has some useful things to say about this. But SVG doesn't even make an attempt to do this. I haven't read the whole draft, but it's pretty clear that there are going to be real problems indexing content. Mainly because my previous example is now <text>Blue Jeans</text> (some attributes snipped). And if I want to put the two words on different lines it looks to me like I'm going to have to do <text>Blue</text> <text>Jeans</text>. And if I want to animate each letter separately? Of course I could use XSLT and maybe some other processing to generate my SVG. Do you think it likely that that's how authoring programs are going to work? I'm pretty sure that if SVG becomes mainstream it's going to be created in WYSIWIG authoring tools, and the chances that <text>Blue</text> and <text>Jeans</text> are even going to wind up near each other is pretty slim. OK, so for the advantages of xml to really be seen you need good authoring practices, and there are probably ways around some of these problems- maybe using RDF and content negotiation. But I still have qualms about it. I'm sorry if this is too off-topic. I think that these issues are going to be very important to the development of xml and the web, and in more contexts than just this one. Tagore Smith xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev@i... Archived as: http://www.lists.ic.ac.uk/hypermail/xml-dev/ or CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1 Unsubscribe by posting to majordom@i... the message unsubscribe xml-dev (or) unsubscribe xml-dev your-subscribed-email@your-subscribed-address Please note: New list subscriptions now closed in preparation for transfer to OASIS.
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