[Pipet Devel] using XML

Konrad Hinsen hinsen at cnrs-orleans.fr
Wed Dec 9 10:09:16 EST 1998

> There is one very nice feature of using XML as a protocol, that I haven't
> mentioned yet:  Standard XML (like BSML or CML) is viewable via Web
> browser...it will someday be almost as common as HTML.  So, if TULIP uses BSML

Wait and see... In principle this should be possible, but a browser
that can display any XML file for which an XSL stylesheet exists
is not going to be a simple program, and not likely to be available
very soon. The XSL definition isn't even ready yet as far as I know.
It remains to be seen what XML support the next browser generation
will provide.

But I totally agree in principle: lots of people will produce lots
of tools for XML, so we would be stupid not to profit from that!

> Linux box, simply via HTTP. (Of course, you may argue that you can set up
> tools across a network many other ways, but you can't without an account,
> etc...this is the whole reason why the Web is so popular.)

More and more programs are using the Web as a kind of user interface.
I suspect this won't be enough for all aspects of TULIP, but it's
a nice option where applicable. The main limitation is data manipulation,
which is either limited to forms or requires Java or JavaScript, and
that's a big mess.

I expect the main use of XML in TULIP to be data storage - one format
that all tools understand, and which many non-TULIP tools will soon
understand as well. As far as communication between tools requires
passing complex data structures, XML fits the bill. But let's not
overdo it; there's no point in sending an XML document where a
five-character command line argument would be sufficient!

> But don't miss this point I made once before: TULIP tools may behave like
> browsers by using XML, but they won't just display hypertext; that's HTML's
> job.  We can use BSML and CML to make some very non-Web-browser type
> interfaces, that are very interactive.

Which reminds me: perhaps we can steal browser-type code from Grail!

Konrad Hinsen                            | E-Mail: hinsen at cnrs-orleans.fr
Centre de Biophysique Moleculaire (CNRS) | Tel.: +33-
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