Victor Mote wrote:
Glen Mazza wrote:

No response on the below questions from any committer,
and I'm concerned about the drop-off on the FOP-DEV
mailing list over the past few weeks (at an
extrapolated 170 emails on FOP-DEV for the month, this
would be our lightest month since Dec. 1999!)

At the moment, most of my design questions are answered, and it is merely
:-) a question of finding time to implement.

I'd like us to continue progress on both Trunk and
Alt-Design until (1) at least one of the two methods
are finished or (2) they've been merged completely.  I
would be happy to work as best I can towards both
goals.  Do the committers need to have a vote on this?

I think most of us treat Alt-Design as Peter's "baby" and expect him at some
point to propose a reintegration of some or all of his work into the trunk.

We need to get working again.

There are probably multiple opinions about how best to proceed. My personal
view is that our biggest problem is not integrating Alt-Design, but rather
integrating the maintenance branch and the trunk so that we are releasing
and developing in the same branch. To that end, I am (as we speak) trying to
untangle Driver into Session, Document, and RenderContext objects, as the
first step toward refactoring to LayoutStrategy. So I guess I am working
along a different line, but working nonetheless.


I'm pleased and surprised to hear that most of your design questions have been answered. What scope of design are you talking about?

I am a little more disturbed to hear that is once again my baby. I have been posting here intermittently over the past few weeks with design notes that explore the implications of my discoveries about the impact of some particulares of the Rec on my current properties handling, the implications for the layout of those issues and the integration of, and some general questions of layout design.

In making those notes, I have been at pains to illustrate my points with either new diagrams or reference to existing ones. I have gone to those lengths because I an anxious to communicate my ideas as accessibly as possible. When I was working on the properties implementation, I found that my attempts to explain what I was doing were met with blank incomprehension. I am trying more diligently to circumvent such a situation now.

However, it seems that I am still working in something of a vacuum. I have had a little feedback, but it did not relate specifically to the possible impact of my ideas or the properties integration, on the design of layout.

All of this may simply be because my comments are not considered relevant. Nonetheless, I believe that the *kind* of design commentary I am making is of great value in the development of the design of layout. irrespective of the particulars of my work. One of the problems of getting more people involved in the redesign work is the opacity of the process. It seems to me that the redesign documentation is, to too great an extent, simply the code. I say this in spite of the other documentation that has been done.

Add to this the opacity of the code itself, evidenced by a number of Joerg's comments over the past few months, and I think there is good cause for extensive documentation and diagramming of the intention and direction of the design, and of various critical algorithms, using a combination of text, diagrams and code fragments, in a way similar to the approach I have been attempting with the documention and recent discussions.

The easiest way to proceed is to hack existing code. It's the conventional wisdom, it gives instant gratification and feedback, and one always has something that works - sort of. Granted, the HEAD base incorporated new design approaches when it was initiated, but my feeling is that HEAD redesign is now progressing by the above method. So far, this approach to development has not succeeded in resolving the thornier design issues thrown up by the Rec. I'm not saying that Kieron, Joerg and yourself will not succeed where others have failed. But I would like to see the process made as transparent as possible. (Your work on the rationalisation of the web site is a step in that direction.)

One of the major virtues of trying to explain what one is attempting to do in advance, is that it wonderfully clarifies the thinking.

Here endeth the gripe. Thank you for listening.

Peter B. West

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