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Review of Introduction

From: Ian Davis <ian.davis@talis.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 20:26:17 +0000
Message-ID: <456360E9.6050500@talis.com>
To: public-grddl-wg <public-grddl-wg@w3.org>

This is a review of the introduction section of  "Gleaning Resource 
Descriptions from Dialects of Languages (GRDDL), editor's draft $Date: 
2006/11/21 16:29:36 $" I found at http://www.w3.org/2004/01/rdxh/spec

"There are many dialects of languages in practice among the many XML 
documents on the web."

This seems self-evident and unnecessary and i would strike it. It's the 
stated purpose of XML to enable many different languages to be created.

"There are dialects of XHTML, XML and RDF"

I can grok dialects of XML but not of RDF and XHTML. Please point to 
some examples of dialects of RDF. If by dialect you mean "pattern of 
usage" then I can possibly understand inclusion of XHTML, but why isn't 
XHTML simply treated as a dialect of XML? Besides isn't the usual term 
an "application of XML"? GRDDL is a neat acronym but that doesn't mean 
we need to focus unnecessarily on the components of that acronym.

"Recently, two progressive encoding techniques have emerged to overlay 
additional semantics onto valid XHTML documents: RDFa and microformats 
offer simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted 

Why not include embedded RDF here? By implication it's not progressive. 
The use of the term "recently" gives a temporal nature to this 
specification that isn't warranted. Why not replace with "Two encoding 
techniques that overlay additional semantics onto valid XHTML documents 
are... which offer..."

"While this breadth of expression is quite liberating, inspiring new 
dialects to codify both common and customized meanings, it can prove to 
be a barrier to understanding across different domains or fields. How, 
for example, does software discover the author of a poem, a spreadsheet 
and an ontology? And how can software determine whether authors of each 
are in fact the same person?"

GRDDL doesn't solve this problem. GRDDL gets you part of the way - 
normalising the expression of semantics so that you can then use other 
mechanisms to determine the above information. Recommend that this 
entire paragraph is rewritten to describe what GRDDL actually does.

I am not convinced that a table is appropriate for the visual layout of 
the examples. This is not tabular data but simply a list of examples 
which we could style to appear in a grid.

"Using URIs to uniquely identify the book, the author and even the 
relationship would facilitate software design because not everyone knows 
Stephen King or even spells his name consistently."

I have trouble interpreting this fragment. "facilitate software design" 
provides no meaning for me.

The RDF Stephen King example seems to ignore the advice given earlier in 
the introduction of giving important things URIs. The foaf:Person is a 
blank node. The appearance of both dc:creator and foaf:maker is just 
going to be confusing to newcomers - what's the difference? why use one 
over the other? questions we shouldn't have to answer in this spec.

"GRDDL is a mechanism for Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects 
of Languages"

What are the other mechanisms? Are there any? Is it a mechanism or a 
pattern of usage? Can we replace with text simply saying that this is 
what GRDDL stands for.

"GRDDL provides a relatively inexpensive mechanism for bootstrapping RDF 
content from uniform XML dialects; shifting the burden from formulating 
RDF to creating transformation algorithms specifically for each dialect."

First "relatively inexpensive" is valueless. What is it compared to? If 
it compares "formulating RDF" to "creating transformation algorithms" 
then I would hazard a guess that the latter is much harder since you 
must necessarily do the former first. Linking to those transformations 
is the easy and "inexpensive" part. Second what is a "uniform" XML 
dialect and how does it differ from other XML dialects?

"The use of XSLT to generate XHTML from single-purpose XML vocabularies 
is historically celebrated as a powerful idiom for separating structured 
content from presentation."

"Historically celebrated" seems rather strong for technologies that have 
existed for only half a decade. Why not "widely regarded" instead?

"GRDDL shifts this idiom to a different end: "

This seems clumsy. And it anthropomorphizes GRDDL. Can GRDDL be said to 
_do_ anything? What about simply "GRDDL can be used to separate document 
structure from its authoritative meaning"

"Content authors can nominate the transformations for producing RDF from 
their content and use GRDDL to refer to them."

We get to the point in the very last sentence! Why don't we say this as 
the first sentence of the introduction?

I believe this discharges my outstanding action


Received on Tuesday, 21 November 2006 22:00:17 UTC

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