[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Applitude connectivity, was: Re: Spaceparts vs. first-class structures, was: Re: [Gzz] Summing up...

Hi Rauli,

thanks for your reply. I think I we're miscommunicating on two counts; let me get that out of the way first.

Firstly (I didn't mention this because I was addressing my mail to Tuomas, who knows this): I am *not* talking about how to do links between text generally. We have a lot of the functionality of xanalogical links in place now, and hope to have a full system (including network lookup, which doesn't work yet) Sometime Soon. I'm assuming that most links to text will be handled by xanalogical content links, *not* by the mechanism I was talking about.

Secondly, of course not all paragraphs represent a logical entity. Maybe most paragraphs don't. However, there are at least two cases where structurally, they definitely *are* a logical entity: headings and list items (both a heading and a list item are represented as one paragraph in most systems). Other paragraphs often also are an entity that brings a single point across; for example this one and the one above.

It's not unreasonable for a user to declare that they assume a heading, list item or other paragraph will stay a logical entity. They can't be really sure about it, probably, but they can choose to accept a little structural confusion if their assumption turns out to be wrong.

Now, there are two points to putting paragraphs in cells:

1. Paragraphs are relatively big chunks of text which have structural meaning in a document. It would be nice to have them available in structure, so that you can browse and rearrange them as cells (zzstructure is natural for a big document's "outline view").

2. If I choose to assume that a paragraph will remain as a logical entity, I want to be able to connect it *into a zzstructure*.

For example, I want to be able to clone a paragraph; I want to put the same point into one document as a heading, and into another one as a list item, and have the two connected; and I want to be able to put the same point into a zzstructural list of things, etc.

Rauli Ruohonen wrote:

What is a lifetime of a paragraph? In my opinion, a paragraph is a textual
unit that tries to concisely bring a point across. Given this, a paragraph
ceases to be the same when the point changes too substantially.  "Too
substantially?" How much is that, then? Is there an automatic heuristic?

In the system I'm thinking about here, no: the user makes the assumption that the point won't change so that it's not the same any more. The computer will make its best effort to keep the connections connected no matter what the user does. The computer presents consistent behavior, and it's up to the user what's right and what's wrong.

In the xanalogical linking system, again we present consistent behavior and leave "right" and "wrong" to the humans; the behavior here implies kind of a heuristic: As long as some of the original characters remain, the link remains; we trust that the viewing user will be able to see how much it still applies.

From the point of view of someone who wishes to quote a paragraph, refer
to it, ideally the paragraph should not change at all.

(Yes, that's why we do this through the xanalogical mechanisms, not through the paragraph-as-cell thing.)

Satisfying this simple requirement in ZZ should be trivial; just refer to
the permanent piece of text in a certain version.

(Again, not necessary-- refer to the permanent xanalogical identities of the characters instead.)

Giving paragraphs an identity (cell) that's not really dependent on its
content (spans) seems odd to me. They are just a way of organizing ideas
anyway, the sentences in them are far more important than the way they
have been split.

As I said above, yes, this is indeed the case for many paragraphs. The system I'm talking about is almost only useful for the remaining cases (as I said above).

Besides, if I change every second word of a paragraph,
even if the meaning stays the same I don't think it's the same paragraph

The point here is about paragraphs which bring one single point across, as determined by the user; we assume that they're only changed so that they still bring that single point across, and declare that they then are versions of the same "thing" *for the purposes of this system*.

Also, this seems to be too
concerned with paragraphs. What about referring to sentences?

I don't think sentences are that important, because I don't feel I could very often say, this sentence may be changed, but it's going to remain a structural unit that brings a certain point across, and thus is a unit that I might want to connect and clone into different contexts etc.

Or sections?

Sections are a very good point-- all I want to be possible with paragraphs here should be possible with sections also ;-)

More stuff to think about.

Or three sequential paragraphs in a 6-paragraph subsection? Or more
scattered sentences, nevertheless related?

Probably to ill-defined to use like this; likely, we should simply make xanalogical links and transclusions here.

Still, I *want* to be able to see and connect paragraphs as cells. It's
part of the fun. :)

That would be nice, as long as it means connecting those paragraphs as
they are, not unpredictable future versions.

I don't agree-- if you want to connect them as they are, you can transclude the paragraph. Zzstructural links are always to unpredictable future versions!!! (If you connect two cells, the connection stays no matter how the cells' contents or other connections are changed.)

 -- Rauli, just a bit confused by the hardness of "simple" text editing

That's something Ted has been talking about for a long time ;-)

Hope that this mail cleans up some misunderstandings and gets us on the track of a productive discussion :)

- Benja