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UNIVERSITY OF EXETER COMPUTER UNIT
THE SGML PROJECT MAN885
Report on Activity at the SWG meetings and meeting of
IST-IEC/JTC1/SC18/WG8 held in Montpellier, France, 30th September
- 10th October 1991
Paul A Ellison
Director SGML Project
5 December 1991
In line with WG8 policy, the first week (30th September-4th
October) was reserved for SWG meetings, and the second week was a
regular WG8 meeting which included some SWG and other meetings.
Since the previous WG8 meeting, the DIS ballot on DSSSL (10179)
had been completed, there had been a meeting called to consider
the way in which the five-year review of SGML (8879), could be
conducted and various documents covering parts of the revised TR
9573 (Techniques for Using SGML) had either been balloted or
produced for WG distribution and discussion. The progress made
on each of the projects and sub-projects assigned to WG8 is
2. Progress on Projects
JTC1.18.15 Computer Languages for Processing of Text
JTC1.18.15.01 ISO 8879:1986 - SGML
WG8 reviewed the documents from the SWG meeting to consider
the form of the five-year review held earlier in the summer,
and agreed a policy to be followed whilst undertaking the
JTC1.18.15.02 TR XXXX Operation Model for Text Description
Neither of the editors were able to attend. No progress
JTC1.18.15.03 TR9544:1988 - Computer-Assisted Publishing
Due for three-year review -discussions are being held to
change the editor (currently, I am the nominated editor).
JTC1.18.15.06 Text Composition
JTC1.18.15.06.01 DIS 10179 - Document Style Semantics and
Specification Language (DSSSL)
The DIS ballot on DSSSL had closed, and sufficient votes had
been received to allow DSSSL to proceed to IS once ballot
comments have been resolved. Although a negative vote had
only been received from three countries (UK, Germany and
France) there were a considerable number of major and minor
comments. In addition an extensive liaison statement had
been received from SC18/WG3. Resolution of these comments
will take many meetings. Most of this meeting was spent in
developing a plan for the resolution of all the comments and
on allocating areas of concern (as expressed in member body
comments) to sub-groups to propose resolutions.
JTC1.18.15.06.02 DIS 10180 - Standard Page Description
As DIS 10180 was out for ballot no `progress' was possible.
However, DPA experts from WG4 (DOA) attended the WG8 meeting
and discussions concerning alignment of DPA with the Document
Production Instructions in SPDL were able to be held. In
addition, there were discussions between members of the DSSSL
group and the DPA experts which highlighted the need for
DSSSL to be able to send instructions directly to the print
server. Further meetings will be necessary.
JTC1.18.15.07 SGML Support Facilities
JTC1.18.15.07.02 TR9573:1988 Techniques for Using SGML
A working draft of part 4 was distributed. Following a
brief meeting, it was recommended that further work on Parts
1-5 of TR9573 should not take place until the review of
ISO8879 was completed.
The meeting also resolved the comments on the ballot on Part
II; the UK reversed its negative vote; and it was resolved
to recommend that Part II be forwarded for second ballot.
JTC1.18.15.07.03 (.01) ISO 9070:1991 Registration
Procedures for Public Text Owner Identifiers (Amendment to
change Title and Scope)
No progress was made as one of the main developers of this
amendment was unable to attend.
JTC1.18.27 Description and Identification of Glyph Fonts
ISO 9541 Parts 1 & 2 and ISO 10036 are now published ISO
standards. An error in Part 2 has been found, and a
`defects procedure' will be set up. DIS9541 Part 3 is
currently out for DIS ballot.
User Requirements were developed for Part 4 (Application
Specific Properties) and were agreed with WG1 who were
holding a meeting concurrently with WG8. Progress on a
preparatory paper was also made. User Requirements (UR) and
New Work Item Proposals (NP) were developed for two
a) To Part 1 to add additional properties for the improved
setting of Latin-based and of East Asian languages, and for
the setting of script-based languages (eg Arabic and Hindi).
This NP will include changes to Part 2 to allow the
additional properties to be interchanged.
b) To Part 2 only, to add facilities for the interchange of
partial fonts, subsets of fonts, and families of fonts.
Because of the concurrent meeting of WG1, considerable
progress on these URs was able to be made.
JTC1.18.33 Font Services (Work item allocated to WG8 -
Abstract Service Definitions, and to WG4 - Protocol
Progress on the development of User Requirements was made.
These will be sent to WG8 experts prior to the next WG8
meeting and then forwarded to WG4 for their approval.
JTC1.18.39.02 DIS 10744 - Hypermedia/Time-based Structuring
WG8 received a copy of the typeset version of this DIS that
has been submitted for ballot. The UK delegation felt that
insufficient time had been spent to remove typographic errors
prior to submission for ballot.
3. Other Developments
Character - Glyph Model
WG8 experts, particularly those in the Fonts group, are concerned
that there does not seem to be a clear understanding of a
character/glyph model within relevant JTC1 subcommittees. A
member of SC2/WG2 (responsible for DIS 10646) attended the first
week of the Montpellier meeting to help to clarify the SC2
understanding. The problem is not of their making, but they are
doing nothing to clarify the situation. SC2s responsibility is
for the internal representation of characters, NOT for the
renderings of those characters when displayed or printed.
Unfortunately, this difference is not fully understood, as a
result 10646 will contain, for example, ligatures, characters
made by composing successive characters (eg some, but not all
accented characters), the four rendering variations of most
Arabic characters. All of these variations and many others are
held in the AFII registry of glyphs. Any output using SC18
standards will use the AFII numbering and not the 10646 code
representation unless a suitable mapping is included. A
carefully worded liaison statement has been sent to SC2 inviting
their experts to attend a series of presentations of SC18/WG8
standards in Los Angeles in January.
Standards for Retrieval of Structured Data
WG8 responded as positively as possible to a request from
SC21/WG3 for expressions of interest in the standards
developments that they are proposing. In the UK, IST/18/-/8 will
establish links with relevant UK experts to ensure liaison and
co-operation at all levels.
Audio Visual Interactive Scriptware (AVIS)
As a result of an agreement reached at the 1990 JTC1
Multimedia/Hypermedia Technical Study Group, JTC1 assigned the
new work item proposed on AVIS jointly to SC18 and SC29. SC18
was assigned the functional definition, and SC29 the coding. At
the 1991 SC18 Plenary, WG8 was directed to study the proposal and
to make recommendations for its assignment and subsequent
development within SC18. This was accomplished by review of the
documents, discussion at a MHEG meeting in August and at the WG8
meeting. The results of these discussions are embodied in the
document WG8 N1254. In summary, this document recommends that
SC18 should assign the AVIS NP to WG8, and that the existing
assignments split, although not optimal, should be continued.
Mechanisation of JTC1 Secretariat
A small group under the WG8 convener will be submitting a
response to the proposals for the mechanisation of the JTC1
Secretariat. Fundamentally, WG8 believes that such
mechanisation should be seen to be using the standards developed
within JTC1, particularly those developed within SC18. [If JTC1
recommends use of proprietary techniques, then why have all of
the SC18 experts bothered over the past ten years!]
4. Problems Areas
Satisfactory resolution of DSSSL comments:
As reported by Martin Bryan, the DSSSL group was confronted by
100 pages of comments. It is felt that resolution of the
comments will not be possible without a major review of the
standard. Martin's report continues to comment on the
technical nature of some of those ballot comments, and should be
read in conjunction with this report.
Organisation of WG8 Meetings:
WG8 has allocated to it a wide range of work items which requires
a very careful assignment of sub-group meetings. Unfortunately,
the UK is only able to send two experts to each meeting which
means that each expert is expected to divide his time between
more than one group meeting. This problem of organisation was
particularly bad at Montpellier due to other commitments of many
of the key experts.
5. Future International Activity
Further SWG meetings to resolve the comments on DSSSL are
scheduled for November (Exeter), January 1992 (Los Angeles) and
March 1992 (Texas). By this stage it should be possible to
respond to the comments and to prepare a revised document.
There will be SWG meetings on SPDL in Exeter, Los Angeles and
Copenhagen to resolve all comments prior to publication. This
last two meetings will be held in conjunction with regular WG8
There will be Fonts SWG meetings to resolve comments on the DIS
ballot for 9541 Part 3, and to advance work on 9541 Part 4 and
Font Services in conjunction with the regular WG8 meetings.
In addition there will be SWG meetings for SGML Review
(Amsterdam, May 1992) and Hypermedia (Denmark, April 1992 and
Massachusetts, Sept 1992).
6. UK Delegates
Paul Ellison Principal UK Expert, Fonts
Martin Bryan DSSSL, Hypermedia, SGML
7. Final Comment
The UK is lucky to have such a highly motivated participant as
Martin Bryan. He is totally committed to ensuring a quality
product in all areas of standards activity in which he is
involved. I would note that the UK submitted the largest set of
considered technical comments on DSSSL and that Martin is
prepared to attend WG8 meetings to ensure that those comments are
understood and properly resolved. However, he can only attend
these meeting if he is properly funded. His company is prepared
to allow him the time to spend on standardisation - the UK member
body should be prepared to back-up his efforts with a reasonable
level of travel and subsistence funding. Currently, due to the
fact that WG8 is handling a significant number of work items and
attempts to progress most of them at each meeting, it is
essential that at least two UK experts attend meetings. This
puts further pressure on limited funds.
I repeat, Martin Bryan is (in my opinion) essential to the
eventual successful production of DSSSL that can be used, and the
UK member body must be prepared to assist with some of the costs
that that will entail.