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Re: [PRD] ACTION-531 Update PRD examples complete

From: Christian de Sainte Marie <csma@ilog.fr>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2008 21:25:52 +0200
Message-ID: <485C0440.5@ilog.fr>
To: Gary Hallmark <gary.hallmark@oracle.com>
CC: RIF WG <public-rif-wg@w3.org>

</Chair>
</Editor>
<OnlyMyOwnHatAsCSMA>
Gary,

Hmmm... We seem to be deadlocked :-( How do we progress from here?
And I disagree with almost everything, as applied to the PS!

I perfectly agree to all your arguments below... as applied to the XML 
syntax!

I do not know if that is a technical argument or not, but the 
presentation syntax is for human readibility, and the only point of 
having a human-readable syntax, as I understand it, is to talk a 
language that is closer to the one your target is using than the XML syntax.

If we decide to use a language that is rather farther from the language 
our target audience uses than the XML syntax, we miss the point (hence 
my reference to our target crowd usage; the point is *not* that "we want 
them to like us", as you put it rather disparagingly).

Especially if the reason to do so is at best arbitrary: if it were 
really an objective of RIF that the presentation syntaxes of the action 
and logic branches be as close as possible, then we should redesign the 
PS of BLD so that it works as well as possible with both communities 
(that could have been an option, but it is not anymore so close to BLD LC).

But this is not an objective of RIF, as far as I understand: the XML 
syntax is the interchange format; the PS is only a non-normative, 
convenience device to make the specification easier to read. According 
to that criterion, using a PS that is so far away from the widespread 
usage of the targeted reader misses the point, again. The device to make 
the overlap between PRD and BLD visible is the comparison table (which 
is a much better device - in the sense: much more informative and much 
more precise; and this is a technical argument).

Btw, a simple technical argument to avoid using the PS in the 
introduction of PRD is that it has not been defined at that point, and 
that the reader has no clue what it is. It is usually considered good 
practice not to use a notion or a notation until it has been defined, 
unless it is informally and the average targeted reader can be expected 
to understand the notion or notation, at least at an informal level.

Gary Hallmark wrote:
> 
> I am unmoved by your repeated non-technical worries that "the PR crowd 
> won't like us".  (And to have a schism based on what comes first, the 
> "if" or the "then", is truly straight from Gulliver's Travels)

What comes first is only one tiny part of the issue. The main point is 
to make it clear at first glance that we are dealing with our target 
community issues.

Like, using as a running example something they can immediately identify 
as being their kind of rules, at the level of rule complexety they care 
about (ok; I agree that that last part of the sentence is more 
debatable; but, here, the technical argument is that the running example 
must be complex enough to be used to examplify most if not all of PRD 
features).

> I would like to hear some technical arguments.  My argument is that by 
> definition of "rule interchange format", the default should be that PRD 
> and BLD are aligned.

What is the technically compelling argument for that, again? I mean, wrt 
the PS?

:-)

> Obviously, from a technical point of view (the only one that I really 
> care about here) the syntax and semantics should overlap to the greatest 
> extent possible. [...]  It's not a 
> rule language!  It's a (mostly) common language for interchange.

Absolutely agree wrt the XML syntax. No idea why this should be true re 
the PS.

> I certainly don't mind including your informal PS as a "comment" to the 
> BLD-derived PS I added to the document.

Shouldn't the formal PS be added as a comment to the informal one, 
instead, on the tune of: this is how it looks like in the non-normative 
PS that we specify in section 2.5 (but do not be afraid, PRD does not 
require in any way that you translate your rule in the PRD PS, nor that 
you change what your rules look like in your own PR language :-)

>  But there is already an 
> equivalent English description, clause for clause. 

Maybe we can get rid of that one: it is not any easier to understand, 
anyway, apparently (see Paul comments [1] and Adrian rewriting).

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-rif-wg/2008Jun/0097.html

> But you cannot just 
> throw my work away without a technical reason why we should not clearly 
> show the large overlap between BLD and PRD because this is precisely 
> what we've been trying to do with RIF!

I am sorry if I gave the impression that I wanted to just throw your 
work away: it is not the case at all, and I fully appreciate your 
contribution.

It seems that the whole point boils down to a diagreement wrt what we 
are trying to do with RIF: my understanding is that we are trying to 
have useful and widely adopted dialects that interoperate as much as 
possible and as transparently as possible for the users; I believe that 
to "interoperate as much as possible" requires that they share the same 
XML syntax everywhere their semantics agree and that "usefulness and 
wide adoption" as well as "transparent interoperation" require that they 
differ everywhere it makes them more appealing to their own target 
audience (which includes not only different features, but a different 
way to talk to the different audiences).

Cheers,

Christian
Received on Friday, 20 June 2008 19:26:04 GMT

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