[tei-council] visualizing the TEI

James Cummings James.Cummings at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Mon Oct 16 15:17:27 EDT 2006

Barry Cornelius wrote:
> We did try to show this to you twice today but didn't find you.

Well, I had an hour off for lunch, but otherwise I was at my desk all 
day and logged into the oss-watch/AHDS/tei-c IRC channels and 
available by email!

> Sebastian replied to you with:
>> Yes. But what's the alternative? What syntax _does_ the man in the 
>> street understand?

I'm not sure.  It isn't my area.  Aren't there people who study this 
kind of thing? Information design etc.?

> In the world of teaching programming languages, there are many 
> enthusiastic fans of railroad diagrams.  As a result, I wondered whether 
> they would be easier than (some variant of) EBNF for a novice to 
> understand what TEI allows you to write.

I don't know what EBNF means, I am not a programmer remember.

> In programming languages there are less alternatives for non-terminals, 
> and there are often no subsets/supersets (i.e., no provision for new 
> bits to appear when you ask for a new "module").  So maybe that makes 
> them more appropriate for programming lanaguages.

See above. ;-)

>> (Or maybe that is because I looked at the content model of body as an 
>> example.....)
> I don't understand this.

The body element is one of the more complicated ones... it stretched 
far off my screen (for example)... I found myself getting dizzy 
following the tracks, and I flatter myself to think I have at least a 
better-than-complete-newbie understanding of content models.

>> I think the idea is good, and the implementation along the right lines...
> hey, a pun

I'll pretend it was intentional.

> do you think that rnc is more transparent?

Only because I understand rnc more than this... I think a beginner 
will find both confusing.  My only criticism was that if possible we 
should make this as easy to understand as possible.

> it's early days, In my world, it needs a few baths to get this better.

I agree with Sebastian that this is a wonderful thing and doing ODD -> 
SVG Visualisation is great... I'm just wondering if/how those can be 
refined.  I won't pretend to understand what would be best so that the 
common man doesn't raise a fanfare, but want to help to ensure that 
they are a clear as possible to those who benefit most from them.


Dr James Cummings, Oxford Text Archive, University of Oxford

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