The XML 1.0 specification specifies a particular format for textual and other data; the XML Information Set specification provides an abstract definition of XML in terms of information items and their properties.
Increasingly, software and specifications define processing of XML documents in terms of XML-to-XML or infoset-to-infoset transformations. The XML Core Working Group is developing the XInclude specification; the XML Linking WG has developed the XLink and XBase specifications, which can be viewed as ways to enrich or annotate infosets; the XML Schema 1.0 language defines validation and annotation with datatype and other information in terms of a transformation from the input infoset to the output, post-schema-validation infoset. The XML Query language will work on an abstract data model defined in terms of the infoset, rather than in terms of the surface XML syntax. Encryption and digital signatures must be managed at appropriate points in the processing chain. The list could be extended indefinitely.
However, the relationship among all of these W3C specifications is unspecified -- in particular the sequence in which the infoset-to-infoset transformations may or must be performed.
There is also no specification, and currently no W3C work item, for specifying how an author or application programmer could specify an order to the various transformations. Thus it appears there is a missing specification in the XML activity.
As a first step toward addressing these and related issues, the W3C is sponsoring this XML Processing Model Workshop. The goal of the workshop is to determine community interest in the topic area, survey the problems and showcase existing solutions, raise awareness of the issues, and provide a forum for discussing how proposals for further work on XML should address this topic.
There are a variety of actions that could be undertaken by the W3C in following up from this workshop; these include creating a new Working Group to address the topic of the XML processing model, adding the problem to the charter of an existing Working Group, tasking the W3C Technical Architecture Board to consider the question, and others.
We expect several groups to contribute to the workshop:
The workshop is a W3C member-only event. In addition, selected experts invited by the chair can participate.
The program of the workshop will be [has now been] published on the web with public access. This will include tutorial and position papers.
In addition, a report on the discussions at the workshop will be made public after the meeting. Invited experts are required bona fide to stick to the confidentiality agreement. This policy can be later modified on request of the members.
If sufficient interest arises, it is possible that W3C will initiate a related working group and activity.
Position papers are the basis for the discussion at the workshop. A position paper is usually short, around 1 to 5 pages (exceptionally, it can be longer in case it contains a well-defined technical contribution), and summarizes:
Suggested topics include:
Position papers must be sent via e-mail to the Workshop Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 25 June 2001. [An earlier version of this document said 11 June; this was an error.] Allowed formats are HTML and ASCII. In addition to an HTML or ASCII files, alternate formats can be included as well, such as PDF, Word, Postscript.
All the position papers will be inserted in the web pages of the workshop, and may be distributed as printed notes to all the participants. The Chair can ask the authors of particularly representative position papers to explicitly present their position at the workshop to foster discussion. The Chair will be guided in this decision by a program committee consisting of the members of the XML Coordination Group and other individuals the Chair may name.
In this case, the authors are also invited to make the slides of the presentation available on the workshop web site.
[Position papers are listed on, and linked from, the list of registrants.]
Michael Sperberg-McQueen (W3C)
Tel.: +1 (505) 747-4224
Address: 259 State Road 299, Española, New Mexico 87532, U.S.A.
Susan Westhaver (W3C)
Tel.: +1 (617) 253-7970
Address: The World Wide Web Consortium, MIT Lab for Computer Science, 200 Technology Square, Cambridge MA 02139, United States of America.
Henry Thompson (W3C)
Tel.: +33 (0)131 650 4440
Address: Henry S. Thompson, Human Communication Research Centre, 2 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LW, SCOTLAND
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