[sword-devel] Food for thought regarding OSIS and some of its alternatives...

Kahunapule Michael Johnson kahunapule at mpj.cx
Wed Feb 8 07:11:32 MST 2006

Chris Little wrote:
> Like any NEW technology, it requires that we do work. To that extent,
> it is more work than we would have had to do had we just stuck with
> GBF, ThML, etc. But I would rather move to OSIS alone than stick with
> those formats because OSIS can actually handle markup needs that are
> impossible in either of those formats.
I would rather move to OSIS than stick with GBF and ThML, too. I'm glad
those aren't my only choices. :-) GBF is a really old format that does a
few simple things well, but could not compete head-to-head with OSIS. I
have learned a great deal since defining GBF. I would have publicly
replaced it with an XML update long ago, but didn't want to compete with
XSEM or OSIS, at least until I could see how those worked and were
accepted or not accepted.
> Indeed. In OSIS, easy stuff is easy, hard stuff is possible.
We obviously have different standards of "easy." :-)
> OSIS has, indeed, caught on to a reasonable extent in multiple
> organizations.
Indeed, I'm surprised at how much mind space OSIS has gathered. It has
been well sold, but not used extensively, except in The Sword Project.
> USFX hasn't.
Of course not! The USFX schema was quickly produced to solve a practical
need internal to the Onyx project that OSIS could not fill for a variety
of technical reasons. Nevertheless, with some tweaking, I believe it
really could be better than OSIS for many other applications, as well.
Be that as it may, USFX is really just USFM expressed in the slightly
more verbose XML, and with a couple of minor extensions (which actually
could be retrofitted into USFM if anyone cared to do that).
> USFM is impractical for us, as it is not XML.
Of course. That is why USFX exists. It is basically just a very simple
mapping of USFM to a semantically identical representation in XML.
> I'm unclear of what you really expect in terms of OSIS adoption.
At this point, what I expect in terms of OSIS adoption is probably not
relevant to this discussion.
> It is the most widely used open standard for Bible encoding (I
> wouldn't really count USFM as open).
>From my perspective, USFM is at least as open as OSIS. Both are freely
available for use. Both accept comments from the user community, in
practice. Both are controlled by a set of people not including myself,
but both have made adjustments based on my comments. In the case of
USFM, the comments so made resulted in changes that were officially
documented on the standard's official web site in a timely manner,
something I can't credit OSIS with, unfortunately. In both cases, I
could create some mutant dialect, rename it to avoid confusion, and
customize it to my taste-- but it would be equally undesirable to do so
in both cases. I guess I'm missing what exactly makes OSIS more "open"
except for its name.

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