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Confusion about the status of the XML Serialisation syntax

From: Jacco van Ossenbruggen <Jacco.van.Ossenbruggen@cwi.nl>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 09:41:57 +0100
Message-Id: <4435BB30-ECEC-41ED-A97E-8F1F594F5174@cwi.nl>
To: public-owl-comments@w3.org

Dear OWL WG,

I apologise that these comments are provided to you after the  
deadline. I hope you will still be able to consider them.

I have noticed that I, and a considerable number of my colleagues,  
have been confused about the status of the OWL 2 XML syntax.
Various of the 11 documents contain references to this syntax by  
referring to document [1]. This document starts with a _normative_  
overview of the syntax, which does not mention that supporting this  
syntax is actually not required by a conforming OWL 2 application.   
This, in combination with the fact that the text is normative, lead me  
to believe that the XML Syntax is intended as the main serialization  
syntax for OWL 2 documents. This believe was even enforced by the  
total lack of examples given in RDF/XML or any other triple syntax.
Only when someone (thanks Ivan!) pointed me explicitly to the little  
conformance para hidden in section 2.1 of [2], I realized I was  
mistaken.

I am not sure how to fix this problem. I find the whole concept of a  
_normative_ specification for an _optional_ feature quite confusing,  
and would like to see the entire document [1] to be changed to non- 
normative.  The overview section of [1] should clearly state that this  
syntax is optional, and that RDF/XML remains the preferred syntax to  
ensure interoperability with other RDF and OWL 1 applications.  All  
examples in all documents _should_ be provided using a triple-based  
syntax, other syntaxes _could_ be made available on the reader's  
request..

I hope these comments will improve the OWL 2 specs,

Regards, Jacco van Ossenbruggen

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-owl2-xml-serialization-20081202/
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-owl2-test-20081202/#Conformance_.28Normative.29
Received on Thursday, 12 February 2009 08:42:43 GMT

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