Essentially, a XooML-compliant fragment (or, simply, a XooML fragment) is a bundling of attributes. Some bundles apply to the fragment as a whole; some bundles apply to individual associations. Bundles at each level can be held in common (cross-tool) or tool specific. Work on XooML and a XooML-based middleware layer are guided by a vision of "structural integrity": Many tools, many modes of interaction applied to a common structure for the organization of and access to personal information. XooML-based tools include Planz, QuickCapture, Everyday Gantt Chart and a wrapper for use with the Free Mind "mind-mapping" tool.
The XooML vision: One structure (a large directed graph for the organization of all "personal" information), supported by any number of tools.
Additional free downloads of XooML tools:
Quick Capture comes with the installation of Planz but is also available as a separate installation. Click Windows (flag) + "c" to see a pop-up dialog. Selected text is captured together with a link back to the active window. Selected text can be viewed in Planz and an associated link clicked to return to the source. The link is present as a shortcut in the file system. By default the shortcut is placed under a "Notes" folder. However, users can elect to place in any folder through the "Put under:" dropdown. A key point here is that QC has no direct communication with Planz. All "communication" is via XooML fragments.
"FreeMindX" - created by "wrapping" the open-source FreeMind "mind-mapping" application with a layer to work with XooML. (Download coming soon).
Everyday Gantt Chart. Providing Gantt chart visualizations for tasks created in Planz. (Download coming soon).
What is XooML?
Pronounced "zoom'l" for Cross (X)-tool Mark-up Language
The XooML schema specifies the structure of a fragment of metadata as this might apply to any information item addressed by a URI. A fragment can have zero or more associations which, in turn, can point to other fragments representing other information items. Fragments are a bundling of attributes: Some bundles apply to the fragment as a whole; some bundles apply to individual associations. Bundles at each level can be held in common (cross-tool) or tool specific.
A XooML-based tool such as Planz then builds a view as follows:
- 1. Retrieve the XooML fragment for the window's anchor URI and synchronize its metadata (as needed) with the item pointed to by the URI. The current version of Planz, for example, places XooML fragments in association with file folders in order to support the use of folder structure as a means of organizing not only files but also email messages, web references and informal notes. In a step of synchronization, the folder's contents (as determined by file system calls) are compared to the information in the folder's associated XooML fragment. In cases, of conflict, the fragment is modified to agree with the file system (i.e., the file system always wins). From the top-level synchronized XooML fragment, Planz builds a top-level Plan.
- 2. Recursively retrieve and process additional XooML fragments as needed. In Planz, for example, the subfolders and folder shortcuts of a folder appear within the folder's Plan as document-like heading associations. For each of these headings that were last shown as "expanded", Planz retrieves folder content information and an associated XooML fragment and then uses the results of their synchronization to determine the display of a sub-Plan.
- 3. View completion is tool-dependent. In Planz, the process completes when sub-plans have been generated for each in a list of "expanded" associations encountered during the processing of XooML fragments.