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Re: "RDF/XML Lite" task force?

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 15:19:58 +0100
Message-ID: <45A6478E.3070601@w3.org>
To: Benjamin Nowack <bnowack@appmosphere.com>
Cc: W3C SWEO IG <public-sweo-ig@w3.org>

while the core technical issue is obviously of interest, I do believe
that is not something that we should do under the heading of the SWEO
group. I am just concerned of running thin. In my view, this is the type
of discussion that is best fit on the SW Interest Group... [this is just
my process hat on...:-)]

B.t.w.: (and puttting down all my hats:-) I am not sure that a
simplified XML syntax is really what we would need from a SWEO
perspective. I am bit mixed up where Ora referred to this (I think it
was answering Lee's blog): now that the RDF/XML parsers are omnipresent,
why would we care about the details of an XML encoding? What we need is
an understanding that the model and XML are different. That is why we
will try to get some more formal stamp on Turtle (I hope this will work
out); that is why also I see RDFa as an important tool. Ian raised a
JSon format: I did not think about it before but, well, yes, why not?


Benjamin Nowack wrote:
> OK, this would probably fit better in SWD, but it's related to
> SWEO as well. Just some food for more thought:
> One of the (IMO) most destructive SemWeb misconceptions is the 
> "RDF = RDF/XML" one. I guess we all agree that one of SWEO's
> objectives should be to provide (links to) easy-to-grok material
> for SemWeb newbies that make the distinction clear. However, if
> want to go beyond these simple education tasks, we have to
> reach out and get more people of the larger Web dev community
> involved. I personally don't have a problem with RDF/XML, and
> I always sigh when the "RDF/XML sucks" perma-thread reappears
> every other month, but fact is:
>  * there *is* a perma-thread
>  * it's sucessfully used by SemWeb opponents (and proponents
>    as well, for that matter) to hinder community growth
>  * even many RDFers don't like it
>  * it *is* the recommended syntax 
>  * we are not in a position to make everyone switch to
>    e.g. turtle; embedded RDF approaches don't work for
>    all use cases, and generally, an XML-based syntax
>    makes a lot of sense
>  * even the most simple SemWeb "hello world" will include
>    some serialization, any useful *2nd step* will include
>    parsing/consuming
>  * developers didn't forget the pain and frustration when 
>    they gave up on trying to write an RSS 1.0 parser
> So, assuming our wake-up efforts are a huge success and everyone
> gets interested in SemWeb development, how can we make sure
> that this 2nd step mentioned above doesn't become a showstopper?
> Of course, turtle is one way, but I think we'd be significantly
> more successful if we could offer an RDF/XML subset that's easy
> to write, and (more importantly) easy to parse with existing XML
> tools. And I believe the main benefit wouldn't be a technical,
> but a marketing/motivation one. When I wrote my RDF/XML parser
> in PHP using libxml, I managed to have a basic version running
> in less than an afternoon, but it took me months before it 
> covered all the different optional features in the spec.
> I'm not sure what my concrete proposal for SWEO would be, I'd
> at least like to see
>  * an as-short-as-possible "essential RDF syntax" document,
>    that, after reading it once, allows developers to write valid
>    RDF/XML (and turtle?) documents.
> What I'm dreaming of is:
>  * a more spec-like "RDF/XML Lite", that is a valid subset
>    of RDF/XML, XSLT and XML parser-friendly, and that allows
>    average coders to easily create conforming parsers and/or
>    converters
>  * we manage to persuade toolkit developers to offer this
>    serialization as an output option
>  * we manage to persuade app/extension/plugin developers to
>    update their RDF/XML export formats
>  * alternatively we manage to deploy some simple
>    rdfxml2rdfxmllite scripts
> I think this would be doable, it's a little bit like DOAP, or
> the foafnet effort from a few years back, just more general.
> I think it would be easy to get consensus on the features this
> RDF/XML subset should (not) have, Leo even started a wiki 
> page[1] some time ago. What's missing is just someone to 
> collect requirements, write it up properly and some authority
> to spread the word.
> Congrats, you reached the end of this post. Fell free to
> tell me this is entirely off-topic ;)
> Ben
> [1] http://esw.w3.org/topic/SimpleRdfXml


Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
URL: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
PGP Key: http://www.cwi.nl/%7Eivan/AboutMe/pgpkey.html
FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf

Received on Thursday, 11 January 2007 14:19:54 UTC

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