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RDF: XULing or Grueling

From: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2007 22:48:26 +0100
Message-Id: <A470E62E-F982-4B35-966C-B0C01467F9F0@cs.man.ac.uk>
To: SW-forum Web <semantic-web@w3.org>

http://www.jerf.org/resources/xblinjs/whyNotMozilla/notXulTemplates.html
http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/whatwg/20071004#%23l-543

These days, I generally muck in the OWL end of things, as y'all might  
have noticed. However, I see these sorts of RDF bashing now and again  
and wonder. Several of the showcase applications of RDF from earlier  
in the 00s seem to have gone a bit bust leaving a bad taste in some  
folks mouth (RSS 1.0, XUL, I would say OWL's RDF syntax..certainly  
for me; I didn't *start out* disliking it in the DAML+OIL days; my  
own personal cross the WSDL RDF mapping).

Now some of these may have had other factors as well (RSS 1.0 is an  
obvious example). But it's not clear to me that RSS 1.0 is such a  
great idea. If we could press a button and eliminate all the other  
flavors and Atom, or RDFize all of them, would we do so? Would it be  
a good idea?

(I suppose XMP is still chugging, yes? Does creative commons still  
use RDF? Is anyone tracking these attempts over time and writing them  
up as case studies?)

In my experience, several communities resented the injection of RDF  
"from above" (certainly that was a strong feeling in the WSDL group).  
Exposure made them more angry about it rather than less. This is not  
a happy thing. When I compare with things like JSON (which is  
popular) or YAML (which I think isn't nearly as popular...don't have  
anything more than my impression), they don't seem to arose the same  
sort of hostility, nor are they generally *imposed*. (Though  
interesting, in that same chat log there is a bit of discussion about  
why Hixie defined his own syntax for a manifest file instead of using  
JSON or even XML.)

The linked data stuff seems harmless in that afaict it doesn't hork  
anyone off and seems sorta neat (though I've personally not read a  
lot of excitement about it from outside our community; pointers are  
welcome).

Sorry to ramble: My question is whether we can or should come up with  
an analysis of these cases. Both the tactics of pushing adoption and  
the actual technological solutions. These don't feel like Clay  
Shirkleyesque confused naysaying, but some real issues. Maybe the  
issues are *all* idiosyncratic (e.g., perhaps mozilla's "bad" RDF  
implementation was to blame for the perceived problems...but then,  
why didn't any of us step up to the plate and fix it? did we not  
think this was an important evangelization opportunity?)

GRDDL seems like a reasonable attempt to rehabilitate the hegemonic  
reputation of the RDF community. So that's potentially good. I'd be  
interested in some reflection about these cases (and others).

BTW, this isn't meant as a nay-saying bit, but as a wanting to derive  
useful lessons from past experience. The above links *do* contain nay- 
saying, but I'm less interested in refuting that than understanding  
what drove it and if there is any way to do better.

(Does SWEO do case studies where RDF "failed"? Or analyses of when  
RDF might not be the right choice?)

Cheers,
Bijan.
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2007 21:50:59 GMT

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