W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > July 2010

Re: Show me the money - (was Subjects as Literals)

From: Benjamin Nowack <bnowack@semsol.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 11:01:26 +0200
To: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Cc: Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>
Message-ID: <PM-GA.20100702110126.9159C.1.1D@semsol.com>

On 01.07.2010 22:44:48, Pat Hayes wrote:
>Jeremy, your argument is perfectly sound from your company's POV, but  
>not from a broader perspective. Of course, any change will incur costs 

Well, I think the "broader perspective" that the RDF workshop
failed to consider is exactly companies' costs and spec 
marketability. The message still sent out is a crazy (or 
"visionary" ;) research community creating spec after spec, with 
no stability in sight. And with the W3C process not really 
encouraging the quick or full refactoring of existing specs (like 
getting rid of once recommended features), each spec adds *new* 
features and increases the overall complexity of identifying 
market-ready Recs: RIF seems to be a replacement for OWL, but 
OWL2 was only just Rec'd. Which should I implement? RDFa 1.1 and 
SPARQL 1.1 both look like implementation nightmares to me. Current 
RDF stores can't even be used for semantic feed readers because of 
poor "ORDER BY DESC(?date)" implementations, but the group is 
already working on query federation. RDFa is becoming the new 
RSS 1.0, with each publisher triggering the development of 
dedicated parsers (one for SearchMonkey data, one for RichSnippets,
one for Facebook's OGP, etc., but a single interoperable one? Very
hard work.) Something is wrong here. Featuritis is the reason for 
the tiny number of complete toolkits. It's extremely frustrating 
when you know in advance that you won't be able to pass the tests 
*and* have your own (e.g. performance) needs covered. Why start at 
all then? 

The W3C groups still seem to believe that syntactic sugar is 
harmless. We suffer from spec obesity, badly. If we really want to 
improve RDF, then we should go, well, for a low-carb layer cake. 
Or better, several new ones. One for each target audience. KR pros 
probably need OWL 2.0 *and* RIF, others may already be amazed by 
"scoped key-value storage with a universal API" (aka triples + SPARQL).
These groups are equally important, but have to be addressed 
differently.

Our problem is not lack of features (native literal subjects? c'mon!). 
It is identifying the individual user stories in our broad community 
and marketing respective solution bundles. The RDFa and LOD folks 
have demonstrated that this is possible. Similar success stories are 
probably RIF for the business rules market, OWL for the DL/KR sector,
and many more. (Mine is agile, flexi-schema website development.)

RDF "Next Steps" should be all about scoped learning material and 
deployment. There were several workshop submissions (e.g. by Jeremy, 
Lee, and Richard) that mentioned this issue, but the workshop outcome
seems to be purely technical. Too bad.

Benji

--
Benjamin Nowack
http://bnode.org/
http://semsol.com/
Received on Friday, 2 July 2010 09:02:01 GMT

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