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Re: Primer review, part 1 Introduction, Orientation sections

From: Rinke Hoekstra <hoekstra@uva.nl>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 17:59:33 +0100
Cc: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>, Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, OWL Working Group WG <public-owl-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <30FF8398-B009-435A-8DDF-CEECC512CD07@uva.nl>
To: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.rpi.edu>

I agree that the Manchester syntax is not as official as the others,  
but both Protege and TopBraid Composer use it extensively. In fact, I  
would not be surprised if many users are not even aware of the more  
official syntaxes.


On 21 jan 2008, at 17:43, Jim Hendler wrote:

> 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.
>  -JH
> 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

Drs. Rinke Hoekstra

Email: hoekstra@uva.nl    Skype:  rinkehoekstra
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Leibniz Center for Law,          Faculty of Law
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Received on Monday, 21 January 2008 16:59:45 UTC

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