[Pipet Devel] Narval?

Martijn Faassen faassen at vet.uu.nl
Mon Oct 2 14:24:40 EDT 2000

J.W. Bizzaro wrote:
> Martijn Faassen wrote:
> > 
> > The Narval project looks like a pretty new project though. And though
> > there may be a difference in focus, look at the technological
> > similarities -- connecting resources into programs or recipies, use of
> > XML as a backend. Use of Python. Use of a GUI to do this kind of thing.
> > I think there are synergies both in the focus (which is I think still
> > fairly close to Piper), and definitely the technology.
> I'll be lazy and ask you something I could find out myself: Has Narval
> developed their infrastructure yet?

I know _nothing_ whatsoever about Narval, so I don't know. :)
I just got a reply back from the Narval people (or person, not sure),
and he hadn't heard of Piper yet either, and was interested to hear
about it (he said he'll get to you when he's studied your system some more).
He also pointed out some difference he's observed, so I'll quote from
him (with my comments):

> * Piper is meant to be a graphical shell + distributed programming.
>    Narval is meant to be of software agent / personnal assistant.

In a sense I think Piper can perform personal assistant style roles, though,
right? The Unix pipe idea is a bit like this; you string the components
together to do something you like -- I think Narval also has this idea.

> * Piper uses FlowCharts. Narval uses something close to Petri Nets.

Don't know what Petri Nets are, so I can't comment on this one.

> * Piper uses XML as a storage format. Narval uses XML for everything.

>From what I've seen in the Narval manual, XPath and XSLT are used,
I'm not quite sure how yet though. 


> * Piper processes streams. Narval processes XML.  

Interesting -- XML can represent some structured information better than
simple streams, though simple streams can be processed a lot faster. And you 
can stream XML in various ways; Pyxie may be interesting in that
respect to you people too (Pyxie can transform XML to a format that allows
standard Unix commandline tools and such to be used with XML). 


> The reason I ask is because Piper can be used as the infrastructure for other
> systems.  We started an API standards group for just such a thing:
>     DNP-API mailing list
>     http://bioinformatics.org/mailman/listinfo/dnp-api
> Maybe they'd like to join.  (Anyone else?)
> Who is the person you have been in contact with at Narval?

Nicolas Chauvat <nico at logilab.com> 

Anyway, my only goal in all this is to just point each other's existence
to each other. To my completely inexpert eyes there seem to be quite a few
possible synergies between the projects. Anyway, since I accomplished my
goal now I'll step back and see what happens. :)



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