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Re: [RIF-APS] Rules Sign

From: Michael Kifer <kifer@cs.sunysb.edu>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 12:54:27 -0400
To: edbark@nist.gov
Cc: Hassan Ait-Kaci <hak@ilog.com>, public-rif-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20080904125427.724f06ef@kiferserv>


We were NOT chartered to invent a universal syntax for a large number of widely
used dialects AND make this syntax acceptable to everybody. This is an
*impossible* task.

We were chartered to create an exchange framework and a language to facilitate
this exchange. If people teach this, they must understand WHAT they are

If RIF PS becomes a de facto standard for authoring rules then be it.
People will just have to accept that it is different in some details from their
favorite language.


On Thu, 04 Sep 2008 12:41:58 -0400
Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@nist.gov> wrote:

> Hassan,
> I sympathize with your position:
> > I thought it was understood by all here that with a Presentation
> > Syntax for rules, this WG was *not* designing a new universal
> > rule language. We are simply defining shorthands that are
> > somewhat easier to read and write by humans than their normative
> > XML counterparts. The RIF PS is meant to help a human agent read
> > and write RIF examples and allow the automated generation of the
> > XML form from the PS form. Thus, such a PS should:
> > 
> >   (1) be simple and unambiguous to parse by software; and,
> >   (2) easy, by not excessively so, to manipulate by humans.
> > 
> > Why "not excessively so"? Because - again - we are *not*
> > designing a new universal rule language! We are just defining
> > (relatively) less ugly shorthands for (absolutely)ugly XML! :-)
> But what you seem not to realize is that because the PS is the only 
> human-readable form, it is the one that will be used in teaching 
> programmers and users and most importantly _students_ how to use and 
> interpret the RIF.  And that means it will become a de facto standard 
> notation.  And like it or not, teacher/student usage will beget a demand 
> for your tools to support it.
> I have seen 4 standards in the last 5 years agree that all they are 
> going to standardize is the XML exchange notation, so that authors and 
> vendors can protect their proprietary languages.  But they can't 
> actually write the standard in XML and they can't write the examples in 
> XML, because human readers have a hard time finding the beef in the XML 
> bun.  So they invent a "convenience notation", a non-normative 
> "presentation syntax", or some other euphemism for "new language".
> The PS _will be_ a standard language for rules authoring.  People will 
> use it to teach and learn.  And they will want tools to support it.  We 
> have stepped into this, and we won't be able to get it off our shoes. 
> That is why there is so much concern about the details of its fragrance.
> -Ed
Received on Thursday, 4 September 2008 16:55:04 UTC

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