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RE: Proposed XQuery requirement and/or objective

From: Jeff Pollock <Jeff.Pollock@networkinference.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 17:03:25 -0700
Message-ID: <CFE388CECDDB1E43AB1F60136BEB497328D6CD@rome.ad.networkinference.com>
To: "Jim Hendler" <hendler@cs.umd.edu>, <public-rdf-dawg@w3.org>
Cheers, and thanks for your open mindedness.
 
Dan made it quite clear to Rob and I about the need for some concrete examples to test the hypothesis. Aside from passing along excerpts from our user manuals - which we have chosen not to do because we don't really want to assume that our particular product implementation is useful as a basis for a detailed analysis of all the facets - we don't have said examples.
 
At the FTF Eric, Simon and Rob started the exploration of this topic (their preliminary results are in the FTF minutes) and an action item was delegated to Simon for further development.
 
Unless Rob wants to take a stab at your request [Rob, do you have time?], I think that the output of Simon, Eric, Rob, and Howard will take great strides towards a concrete example of what this could look like in practice. I think the plan is to have a fairly encompassing examination for the next FTF in Sept.
 
In the meantime, I promise to help Rob in any capacity I can to get some smaller examples to this group as soon as possible.  As the lead developer for our core engine, he's pretty swamped right now with some forthcoming releases and is stretched in all directions at once.
 
Thanks for your patience.  

Best,
 
-Jeff-

	-----Original Message----- 
	From: Jim Hendler [mailto:hendler@cs.umd.edu] 
	Sent: Tue 7/20/2004 12:01 AM 
	To: Jeff Pollock; public-rdf-dawg@w3.org 
	Cc: 
	Subject: RE: Proposed XQuery requirement and/or objective
	
	
	Jeff-
	 again, let me register my neutrality on this issue - I can see many ways it could possibly go that we could both live with given what we've written so far.  However, my real problem with taking it further is that since Kendall has walked into my office and drawn on my white board a bunch of examples (from the use cases)  I have a comfort level there, but I don't have examples of what you want to see what mappings might look like.  Maybe it is because I joined late, but I don't have such examples for the Xquery type syntax, so it is hard for me to really make informed judgements -- in light of your number 1 below "happy medium of Xquery syntax... and simple semantics" I wonder if you and/or Rob could just draft an example or two of what this might look like for those of us who weren't at the f2f - I don't mean a strawman proposal, just an outline of how you might do one or two of the first use cases in the document, so I and the others who haven't seen it can get a feel -- if you have done this before or presented at the f2f, just a pointer or quick recap would be good to help those of us who missed it. 
	 I'd feel a lot more comfortable exploring the below with an example or two in hand
	 thanks
	 JH

	At 9:36 -0700 7/19/04, Jeff Pollock wrote:
	Jim-
	 
	No, I don't think we are too far off here. If you are in favor of a [surface layer/grammar/concrete syntax] for the DAWG proposed query language that builds upon a widely-adopted format, then we are agreed in principle.
	 
	Tactics on the other handÅ  ;-)
	 
	We think XQuery is a better basis for a surface layer for several reasons:
	 
	(1)     XQuery is more modular than SQL. It lends itself to a richer use of its grammar and simple query semantics, without adopting the data model, than does ANSI SQL. We are _not_ proposing a simple "looks like XQuery" surface layer here, _nor_ are we proposing a wholesale adoption of the XQuery data model and XPath. Instead, we feel like a happy medium of XQuery syntax (language constructs) and grammar (keywords) and simple semantics (meanings to keywords) should be the basis of the DAWG surface layer.  For this point, I wholly defer to Rob Shearer - who is an expert on implementing XQuery over inference engines and SemWeb data structures - he will correct and augment my language as needed.
	 
	(2)     XQuery is a W3C spec. We believe in supporting the W3C initiatives and making use of the layered architecture principles advocated by this organization. Barring any technical barriers that are insurmountable, we think that XQuery should be the natural starting point for this surface syntax. (apparently the authors of the DAWG charter did as well)
	 
	(3)     XQuery is more "general purpose" than SQL. We believe that the Semantic Web (engines and language specs) will be about far more than databases or data access. Our customers use our XQuery-based inference engine for many non-database use cases. For instance, the use of OWL/RDF for encapsulating business rules than can be deduced at runtime by enterprise applications. Likewise, many of our customers are using OWL as a query mediation schema for heterogeneous data access to web services. Neither of these cases is database-like in its implementation. We foresee a future where the Semantic Web does far more than provide "federated databases" or "data integration" style applications. We think that business rules, business logic, web services interface management, process management and so forth are important aspects of the long-term development of the Semantic Web vision that require a more general purpose query language than SQL.
	 
	(4)     XQuery has a native XML context. Regardless of all the political infighting that occurred, the output of RDF and OWL (and most likely SWRL) specifications was solidly grounded upon XML inside the SemWeb layer cake. As the foundation of the layer cake, XML serves as a common syntax for all SemWeb languages, it makes sense to ground the query layer in a similar syntactic (or surface layer) basis. Further, since the commitment was made to XML in this capacity, we think it a natural fit to choose a unified query concrete syntax that is grounded in the native data representation syntax for semantic web specifications.
	 
	I feel like there are many other good supporting arguments and rationale for XQuery, so I reserve the right to add to this list later.  ;-)
	 
	But for now, these are some of the important reasons why XQuery would be a better surface syntax than SQL for the DAWG query output.
	 
	Regards,
	 
	-Jeff-
	 
	 
	 
  _____  

	From: Jim Hendler [mailto:hendler@cs.umd.edu]
	Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 3:07 PM
	To: Jeff Pollock; public-rdf-dawg@w3.org
	Subject: RE: Proposed XQuery requirement and/or objective
	 
	At 14:47 -0700 7/15/04, Jeff Pollock wrote:
	Jim-
	 
	Points taken, and no hostility inferred.
	 
	Your counterpoints regarding the adoption of SQL are a great debate to have.
	 
	In broad brush-strokes, we are committed to a query concrete syntax which is grounded in a widely-adopted (and preferably W3C recommended) representation.
	 
	Further, in no means do I intend to imply that XQuery would make things easier on the vendor implementations for RDFS/OWL/Rule components of the SemWeb - quite the opposite, the implementations may even be more difficult.  Our point is intended to speak towards our opinion that a known query representation would speed user adoption rates for semantic web languages.
	 
	If early adopters of large commercial organizations were faced with learning and implementing a wholly new syntax for queries - on top of what they already have to pay for in human resource expertise - we suspect, and have encountered, resistance.
	 
	Anecdotally, we would likely be supportive of the OWL "two surface realizations" model, as long as one of them was a widely-adopted standard format.
	 
	-Jeff-
	 
	sounds like we're near the same page -- guess what I'm having trouble w/is the "widely-adopted standard format" -- since I haven't seen the Xquery proposal, I've been assuming it is some sort of specialization of Xquery much as RDQL is a "SQL-like" langauge -- guess I'm thinking that most large commercial orgs have lots of people who speak SQL and could learn RDQL-like langauge without thinking of it as different (I speak from experience, I've met a lot of govt folks who have used RDQL with RDF DBs because "they didn't need any training" - which is more or less a direct  quote from someone telling me why he didn't take a SemWeb training course some colleagues were teaching) where Xquery is not yet on their todo list.  On the other hand, it is clear more people will move to Xquery as XML DBs slowly get accepted and steal market share from traditional RDBMS DBs (although right now it is pretty clear which one if David and which is Goliath) .. so I think I would agree with you that "as long as one of them was a widely-adopted standard format", although I'm less sure we would agree which is which :->
	 -JH
	 
	 
	--
	Professor James Hendler                   http://www.cs.umd.edu/users/hendler 
	Director, Semantic Web and Agent Technologies       301-405-2696
	Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Lab.      301-405-6707 (Fax)
	Univ of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742      240-277-3388 (Cell)
	 


	-- 
	Professor James Hendler                   http://www.cs.umd.edu/users/hendler 
	Director, Semantic Web and Agent Technologies       301-405-2696
	Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Lab.      301-405-6707 (Fax)
	Univ of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742      240-277-3388 (Cell)
	   

Received on Monday, 19 July 2004 20:05:47 GMT

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