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Re: A certain difficulty

From: Mark Grossman <msg@geocast.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 13:33:11 -0800
Message-ID: <38B1AF17.374DB73B@geocast.com>
To: Greg FitzPatrick <gf@medianet.org>
CC: xml-dev@xml.org, www-rdf-interest@w3.org
I sympathize.  It took me much much longer than a week to "get" RDF.   I
started at a disadvantage, having very little background in knowledge
representation and scant experience with XML.  I really did think it was I who
was stupid for a while.
I ended up at an advantage, having met directly with R. Guha a couple times.
Now that I get it, I am pretty convinced it will be a useful foundation for my
company's application.  And I'm relieved to discover that neither I nor RDF is
stupid -- it's just a matter of poor communication.

Now the bad news.  The specs take you only so far in learning the powers and
pitfalls.  The examples floating around out there are not terribly
elucidating.  And the publicly available tools are barely functional or
out-and-out broken.  It would be great if there were a grad student or two out
there somewhere who could crank out an "RDF Companion", a working standalone
parser and API written in C,  and  and fix the typos in the spec.

   -- Mark

Greg FitzPatrick wrote:

> I was an invited speaker at the W3C/WAP Forum workshop on Position
> Advantaged Information Systems (PAIS)at INREA last week.
>
> Both I, representing SKiCal, and the man representing the Open GIS
> Consortium, made references to RDF representation of our respective domains.
>
> During the GIS talk the following was heard from the floor.
>
> "We (a working group of 7 technicians from the WAP FORUM Telematics Expert
> Group) tried it (RDF).  We tried like hell for over a week's time and we
> never got it. Sure we could put some things together with nodes and arcs,
> but after that we had no idea where to go.  We downloaded every thing we
> could find, only to become more confused."
>
> "XML is a cinch - but with RDF you have to make yourself a choice;  Either
> RDF is stupid - or you are!"
>
> I thought this was a pretty brave thing to say, since nobody else in the
> room had dared to say (if that was the case) that they had had trouble
> understanding RDF.  But then  assenters starting making themselves known
> through out the room.
>
> Despite who or what is stupid, I guess I am not as brave as the kid who
> called the king naked, in saying that the syntax and model specifications
> are not the documents they should be if we are going to win converts to the
> RDF cause.
>
> Perhaps they should be tightened up to the terseness of XML 1.0.  Or someone
> can find a good pedagogue to take care of the verbosity stuff.
>
> That this group of engineers made a sincere effort to implement RDF and
> failed, is saddening
>
> Greg

--
Mark Grossman
Geocast Network Systems       Tel: (650)566-3259
190 Independence Dr.          Fax: (650)566-8112
Menlo Park, CA 94025          E-Mail: msg@geocast.com
Received on Monday, 21 February 2000 16:33:53 GMT

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