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Re: Review of Introduction

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2006 09:40:27 -0600
To: Ian Davis <ian.davis@talis.com>
Cc: public-grddl-wg <public-grddl-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1164210028.3997.557.camel@dirk>

On Tue, 2006-11-21 at 20:26 +0000, Ian Davis wrote:
> 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

Thanks for the review; in addition to striking some text in
response to other comments, this resulted in just one change:

Revision 1.165  2006/11/22 15:37:30  connolly
s/is a mechanism for/stands for/


> "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.

It's traditional to start an introduction with a statement that the
reader is familiar with, no?

> "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.

Lacking a suggest replacement, I'm OK with it as is.
(I'll abbreviate this to NOOP from here on.)

> "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 
> standards."
> 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..."

I struck it.

> "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.

I agree, but I don't know enough CSS to style it. Help?

> "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?

I struck that bit.

> "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"

I struck that bit too.

> "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
> Ian
Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E
Received on Wednesday, 22 November 2006 15:41:03 UTC

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