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[w3photo] Repository Snag 2 - Fotonotes XML -> RDF

From: Greg Elin <elin@unitboy.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 10:14:32 -0500
To: semantic-photolist@unitboy.com
Message-Id: <A9DB97DC-5B12-11D8-B0F5-000393B64216@unitboy.com>

Snag 2 - Fotonotes XML -> RDF
The second significant snag I hit was related to my Fotonotes code and 
rookie RDF status.

I purposely used a simply XML structure for storing Fotonotes 
annotations b/c I wanted to learn more about RDF and other standards 
and see what others had to say about the format. Well...I got exactly 
what I asked for. ;-)   It was slower going that I anticipated getting 
my head around RDF and how the vocabs we've been discussing translating 
into Fotonotes code.

Libby and Masahide were patient and helped me out a great deal.

As it turns out the most significant hurdle that I faced in moving to 
RDF was the potential complexities of parsing an RDF statement.  My 
sense is that it is a non-trivial task to iterate through a well formed 
RDF statement. Candidly, I found the prospective of parsing RDF 
discouraging on a tight-time line, even with using the existing PHP 
libraries out there. I think my confusion was apparent.

As it also turns out, however, Masahide had previously done an XLST to 
translate Fotonotes XML to one of the earlier drafts of the vocab, and 
we exchange messages.

Going from Fotonotes XML to RDF is *much* easier than parsing RDF to 
the arrays and objects I have in my code. So my transitional solution 
is to continue to work with Fotonotes XML and additionally translate 
that XML into the compliant RDF. Initially for this progress the 
Fotonotes interface does not need to parse RDF...only generate it.

I take two lessons away from this snag.
1) I remain concerned about the adoption of RDF because compared to 
reading a file of value pairs, or even simple XML, there's a lot of 
code required to parse RDF.  Adoption of RDF, IMHO, is slowed by the 
challenges of parsing RDF; it is a hurdle that many developers have yet 

2) It is much easier to work with RDF if you stop worrying about 
parsing it or using it as your fundamental storage format of data. In 
other words, the fastest way to begin working with RDF is to 
additionally translate your data structures into RDF even if your 
system isn't prepared to *read* RDF. This makes your tool available to 
services/apps that CAN read the RDF and gets you in the game sort of 


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Received on Monday, 9 February 2004 13:48:37 UTC

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