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RE: Issue rdfms-abouteach

From: <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 15:11:24 +0200
Message-ID: <2BF0AD29BC31FE46B7887732114404316217E6@trebe003.NOE.Nokia.com>
To: danbri@w3.org
Cc: dave.beckett@bristol.ac.uk, w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ext Dan Brickley [mailto:danbri@w3.org]
> Sent: 16 November, 2001 14:38
> To: Stickler Patrick (NRC/Tampere)
> Cc: dave.beckett@bristol.ac.uk; w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Issue rdfms-abouteach 
> On Fri, 16 Nov 2001 Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com wrote:
> >
> > > For writing by hand, there are, ahem, non-XML syntaxes that
> > > are better.
> >
> > I'm not saying there aren't. But the spec defines an
> > XML serialization and that is what the masses will use.
> >
> > IMO, anyone who things that the web community at large will
> > adopt a non-XML notation for the interchange of RDF encoded
> > knowledge is mistaken.
> Heres a spin on things: this isn't just about interchange. 
> The ability to
> say about-each-ish things like 'all W3C employees have an interest in
> technology'; 'all W3CRecommendations have a dc:format of 
> text/html' etc is
> useful both within RDF/XML documents that are exchanged, but 
> also within
> databases of RDF content. The aboutEach mechanism is useless for that
> purpose, though this may not be clear to content producers.
> We know from the past 3-4 years that content producers often have
> difficulty thinking about RDF separately from its XML syntax. The
> aboutEach mechanism is indeed a handy way of writing down in 
> markup some
> simple rules about common properties that apply to collections of
> resources. If you know what you're doing. The real problem here isn't
> about parsers, streaming etc., but about the risk of encouraging RDF
> content producers to statically encode such rules in RDF/XML 1.0's
> aboutEach syntax. By doing so, they are writing down
> useful knowledge in a form that will (a) be lost forever when 
> the markup
> is parsed (b) be difficult to convert into more explicit rule 
> and ontology
> formats that can live in databases, behind APIs etc., since 
> the authorial
> intent behind these syntactic shortcuts will be invisible to automatic
> tools.
> I for one will never enourage people to write down useful 
> generalisations
> in aboutEach syntax, because I don't want to have them come 
> back and ask
> me why those rules aren't accessible via the (graph-oriented) 
> APIs, query
> languages, database interfaces etc that they'll have to use to access
> their content. In my experience of talking to RDF developers 
> _and_ content
> producers, there's often misunderstanding about which 
> features of the XML
> syntax are carried through to the abstract graph. So my problem with
> encouraging the use of aboutEach is that it risks creating a 
> huge legacy
> problem: information loss as we go from the RDF/XML into 
> databases, APIs
> etc. Because about aboutEach mechanism _appears_ to be RDF's 
> way of making
> generalised claims about members of a collection, people will 
> likely use
> it as such unless we attach a health warning. Once it becomes 
> clear that
> aboutEach is just a wierd macro mechanism, I believe it'll 
> lose its appeal
> to content producers.
> Dan

Point taken. And you are likely right about that.

I'm not 100% convinced that aboutEach should be dropped now, until
a *better* way to do things is available, but I am sufficiently
swayed by yours and others arguments to defer it to the rest of
the WG and abstain from expressing further opinion.


Received on Friday, 16 November 2001 08:11:46 UTC

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