Where are we?

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Sat Aug 5 08:51:38 CEST 2000

>We're discussing the need for a standard rather than actually creating one.

Very deftly put Kevin...

>I put up a while ago an initial attempt at a proposal (the document DDST
>Specifications.doc, you all will have this buried in your attachments
>folder somewhere). Some people have looked at this, I know, but I think we
>need to decide:
>1. Is this a start, or is it the wrong way to proceed and should be ditched
>in favour of something better

I think it is a good start...  if you ditched it, you would only have to
reinvent it, or something very like it...

>2. If it's an adequate start, what concrete changes are needed to
>incorporate the ideas people are discussing?

It would be useful to migrate to definition to the XML arena so we can
throw some data at it, dump into some XML parsers and see what the
resulting mess looks like...

>3. If it should be ditched, can anyone produce a better draft specification
>that we can build on.

???  Is anyone out there going to XMLify it?

>I think at this stage we need a draft document around which the discussion
>can focus. Contributions that point out complications and problems can then
>make concrete suggestions as to changes to the draft proposal, rather than
>be mere discussion points. It seems to me we should be at this stage around
>now - we've discussed the problems for close on 12 months now.

yep...  time to stop slicing bait and go after the fish...

>Now it may be that the structure of this group is poorly suited for the
>task, and a recommendation should go to TDWG that this isn't the way to
>proceed. As it stands, it seems to me that we're functioning well as a
>discussion group but not well as a working group (actually working on the
>problem). This is undoubtedly partly because we're all busy - I know that
>I'm doing all this in my "spare" time and I'm sure most of us are in the
>same boat. Perhaps the only way that this can happen properly is for funds
>to be sought to employ someone on a contract basis to turn the ideas raised
>here into concrete output, using the list as an expert group/listening
>post/scratch-pad resource or whatever. We need to be honest as to whether
>we're going to achieve something.

Experience with contractors/consultants is that they require a fairly tight
specification of what they are being asked to build or you will end up with
a pedal-powered space shuttle, or worse.  We need to come up with the
specs, and having done that there will probably not be much for the
contractor to do.

Nailing the specs to the wall should be something that this group can be
able to do.  We have all developed specs, schemas, models, etc. at some
stage of our lives for our own enterprises.  All we have to do is reach
consensus on what this one might look like.  Hey - shouldn't be much more
difficult than herding cats or nailing jelly to a wall...  :)

And once we have the specs there may even be one or several among us who
will actually build something with it.


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