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Re: Primer review, part 1 Introduction, Orientation sections

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.rpi.edu>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 11:43:06 -0500
Message-Id: <8411E162-6691-494C-A6F7-363CE5916CDC@cs.rpi.edu>
Cc: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, OWL Working Group WG <public-owl-wg@w3.org>
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
I would prefer Turtle (which has at least some status) to Manchester  
Syntax and/or OWL XML - let's at least add Turtle - it's easily  
mappable to RDF/XML but more readable - and it does have a recognized  
document behind it now as well as history of use in W3C SWA  
documents.  The Manchester syntax appears to be defined as the  
research results of a project called "Co-ode" which seems not to have  
any sort of imprimitur -- I would prefer we use Formal syntax, RDF/ 
XML and Turtle if we're going to use more than one.

On Jan 21, 2008, at 7:45 AM, Bijan Parsia wrote:

> Thanks for the feedback on our first draft. I take it that you do  
> like the technology perspective approach, at least in principle.
> On 21 Jan 2008, at 06:47, Alan Ruttenberg wrote:
>> These comments are on the Primer document http://webont.org/owl/ 
>> documents/primer.html as accessed late night 1/20/2007. They are  
>> detailed comments on the Introduction an Orientation sections.  
>> Review of other sections will follow.
>> Summary:  There are a number of places where I think the  
>> descriptions don't adequately introduce OWL from the point of view  
>> of someone embedded in the technology described, which I think is  
>> important for drawing readers in. Ideally the orientations would  
>> make affirmative statements about why people coming from  
>> experiences with their technology might be interested in OWL, and  
>> what they should not expect to find.
> We need to take care to balance breath and depth. I believe we can  
> expect to "set the frame" adequately with this document, but then  
> we should hope that people are inspired by this section to write  
> more detailed perspectival discussions, or to go to lists, etc.
> So some sense of how much more text you think is reasonable for  
> these intro sections would be good.
> Also, I think scattering some "NOTE FOR RDFERS: You can see blah  
> balh balh" through the example discussion could be more helpful  
> than adding a lot more upfront discussion.
> [snip]
>> Introduction doesn't mention important bits about design  
>> considerations for OWL - that it there are known algorithms that  
>> can give complete answers etc, and that is is designed to the most  
>> expressive language for which one can do this, and why it is  
>> important to aim for this.
> I'm not sure foregrounding this in this way is all that helpful.  
> I'd rather talk about "yes and no" answers along the way. I mean,  
> variable free syntax is an important design consideration as well  
> historically, but I don't see it's good to *foreground* that.
> [snip]
>> "both OWL and XML have an object oriented approach"
>> I don't consider OWL to be object oriented,
> This would seem to be a very much minority view.
>> and think this will confuse rather than help.
> Well, the point is for both XML and OOP sections are to say,  
> roughly, Yes we have classes and objects, but don't rely on your  
> understanding from other class/object pardigms. Actually, I think  
> it's less important to say *what* the differences are than to make  
> clear that there *are* radical differences. I.e., to "set the  
> frame". If we say, "Whoa they are radically different" and the  
> person doesn't get how, they are in a much better position to ask  
> questions than if we *don't* say that they are radically different  
> and they don't think to ask certain questions.
> In other words, I'd prefer that the fallback mode, in general, be  
> "self aware" confusion than "unknowing misunderstanding".
> [snip]
>> Database use does not imply negation as failure. It doesn't offer  
>> any support one way or another it seems to me,
> Again, this is not a particularly standard view. Canonically,  
> relational dbs make the CWA and NAF. Consider how aggregation works.
>> whereas OWL offers support for querying over information that is  
>> not explicit and not fully specified.
>> There is no mention of very important difference, namely that  
>> there are no integrity constraints in OWL.
> It's not clear to me that we should call this out as such, esp. up  
> front. I'd rather have a discussion at the QCRs.
> [snip]
>> I don't think this will reach typical database users. It is too  
>> theoretical. It needs to be more down to earth. Clearly there are  
>> very obvious differences - transactions, triggers, replications -  
>> a whole set of considerations that OWL does not deal with.
> Some of these are features of *systems* not the modeling formalism.  
> It'll probably help to make that distinction a bit, though again,  
> I'd prefer to be a bit subtler. Discussing ER diagrams might be  
> more useful.
> [snip]
>> Object-oriented Programming.
>> Again, focus on information completeness won't resonate with oo  
>> types. First they have to be told the "further stuff" and then  
>> why, despite this, they might be interested in OWL.
> I intend to stress the "Template" vs. "description" perspectives  
> (plus the lack of behavior). This will need to be synched more with  
> the XML and RDBMS discussions. The RDF discussion perhaps should  
> come last.
> In my discussions from people coming from XML/OOPy background, this  
> has been the most helpful for them.
> Cheers,
> Bijan.

"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would  
it?." - Albert Einstein

Prof James Hendler				http://www.cs.rpi.edu/~hendler
Tetherless World Constellation Chair
Computer Science Dept
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180
Received on Monday, 21 January 2008 16:43:31 UTC

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