[ZDP] Re: [Zope] object modification date - how ?

Christopher Petrilli petrilli@amber.org
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 17:40:36 -0500

On Mon, Mar 15, 1999 at 05:26:49PM -0500, Pavlos Christoforou wrote:
> > Obviously this breaks the current XML structure :-) But what else am I
> > here for but to make everyon'es life difficult.
> A hierarchical structure is nice because it maps directly onto Zope's
> object system. Thus you can use Zope's through the web gui to modify, cut
> and paste your entries etc. It was Zope's object model that influenced the
> design. The xml part is a useful feature that will allow the exporting
> and importing of xml formatted FAQ's and at a later stage allow convertion
> into other formats.

I understand the desire to fit, and I probably was one of the proponents
of this idea :-) Some ideas of how to do this:

	* 1 XML "document" per FAQ item, it should be "standalone"
	* Sections are built dynamically by traversing lower tree
	  structure looking for matching documents.

The one thing this misses for me is that it would be related to "order"
of questions, which I will address below.

> Additionally the FAQ tool is intented to be collaborative, and a
> hierarchical structure makes it easy to delegate permissions and
> responsibilities to different maintainers.

Understood here, there's no reason these "individual" XML documents
could not be grouped into folders that are traversed.

> Nevertheless I see your point about questions belonging into multiple
> sections. So what do the zdp folk propose to do? 

Create more trouble!  That's the Zope way---well, it's my way.

> One thing I have in mind is to revert to a previous version of the DTD
> where an xml faq doc is composed of entries alone, and subelements of the
> entries indicate the section, subsection etc that the entry belongs to, in
> line with Ken's suggestion. However mapping such a structure into a useful
> Zope hierarchy will not be a simple matter. I guess if Zope supported
> links then we could have all the entries in a Zope folder and section
> folders could contain appropriate links into the entries folder.

Well, it's certainly possible to create a "product" which creates a
link, but this is kinda strange.  One of the other options is to abandon
XML as a "native" representation (for which I have no problem), and do

	* Folder
		* Question document
		* Answer document

You can then <hand waving>provide a Link document that references the
two</handwaving>.  This is something I've been tossing over in my head
for a few weeks now as "linking" is very cirtical in some designs for
sites.  So wouldn't it be nice if...

<hand waving>
In addition to having a Cut, Past, Copy and otherwise general move
capabilites to also have a Link capability, which creates a linked_to
and linked_by reference set (I know, circular, gotta break it somehow)
allowing you to move things around however you want, but still reference
them from other places.
</hand waving>

This is just major hypothetical ideas!  

> Also I would like to avoid including information about the order of the
> entries or sections in the xml document. Just think of the trouble the
> maintainer would have to go everytime there was a need for renumbering.
> Whereas if the order of the FAQ entries was derived from the order of
> their appearance in the FAQ, then including new entries would be a simple
> matter of pasting the new entry in the appropriate position. Alternatively
> we could include the order in the xml and have a small script to
> resequence it when new entries are added.

Order of entries is an interesting problem, it's *normally* not an
issue, but there are times, obviously, when it's critical to the
intelligibility of the document.  You don't want to discuss an advanced
problem prior to a basic one, so here's an idea:

Grant each question a "difficulty" level:

	* Beginner
	* General
	* Advanced
	* Zen Revelation

You then organize each section in that order.  Now this doesn't deal
with internal order of each section, BUT... that's USUALLY not a
problem, but you could have a concept based on dependency... in other
words, one question depends on another... so they would be layed out in
the right order.

Too complex huh?  Just an idea.

| Christopher Petrilli                      ``Television is bubble-gum for
| petrilli@amber.org                          the mind.''-Frank Lloyd Wright