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XML-oriented protocols, RDF and GINF

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 7 May 2000 10:31:19 -0400 (EDT)
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org, XML DistApp ML <xml-dist-app@w3.org>
cc: Sergey Melnik <melnik@DB.Stanford.EDU>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0005070947500.11125-100000@tux.w3.org>

(crossposted to the RDF [1] and the XML-and-protocols[2] 
lists; apologies to multiple recipients and to Sergey for spotlighting his
work without advance warning!)


re the XML protocols comparision, here's another reference to XML-oriented
Web protocol work (Eric Prud'hommeaux is maintaining a comparison table
at [3]):

Sergey Melnik's GINF (Generic Interoperability Framework).
URL: http://www-diglib.stanford.edu/diglib/ginf/

I'm not sure how timely these docs are w.r.t. the evolving implementation,
but http://www-diglib.stanford.edu/diglib/ginf/WD/ginf-magic/
and http://www-diglib.stanford.edu/diglib/ginf/WD/ginf-overview/ give a
good sense of GINF's direction.


Excerpt from the overview:
	A significant long-term goal for information integration is complete
	independence of protocols, languages, data models and formats
	[PCGM+98]. This vision suggests a possibility to dynamically discover the
	functionality of online components and to engage in interaction with
	components using a uniform interface. Important is the ability to utilize
	a variety of components with only minimal requirements on their interfaces
	[Wie92]. 

	Subject of the paper To address the above mentioned issues we suggest a
	generic (rather than common) interface used between interacting
	components. As noticed in [CDSS98], one can easily map anything into a
	tree or graph structure. In previous approaches, the interpretation of
	"anything" was mainly limited to diverse data structures. In our work we
	propose to extend generic representation to additionally cover
	communication protocols and data manipulation languages used in
	heterogeneous systems. By the term "generic" we mean that the semantics of
	protocols, languages and data remain preserved. Instead of choosing a
	common model and language which are required to be supported by all
	components of a mediation architecture, individual protocols, languages
	and data are transformed into a generic representation retaining their
	ontological variety. This allows to reduce heterogeneity issues arising
	upon integration to semantic heterogeneity. 


In passing, I should mention that Sergey's use of the RDF model here
might suprise XML protocol folks who're more familiar with it as a
model/syntax for Web content metadata. In GINF, RDF plays a role analagous
to the serialisation rules in the SOAP proposal, ie. as an XML-oriented
encoding convention for interchange of heterogenous,
semi-structured data. This aside is in part prompted by stumbling across
Don Box's comments on the SOAP list[4] where he correctly points out that
RDF should adopt the datatypes from XML Schemas part II, but also claims
that "RDF solves an entirely different problem". Sergey's GINF papers are
a good place to begin exploring the various ways in which these efforts
_do_ relate to each other. I've no concern here for pushing RDF as a magic
bullet in the XML and protocols space, but do note some "parallel
evolution" w.r.t. techniques for  structuring loosly coupled information
systems on the Web...

I'd hoped to write up some more thought-through notes on this, but haven't
got to it yet, so pointing to GINF serves as an excellent stopgap :-)
 
Dan


[1] http://www.w3.org/RDF/Interest/
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/xml-dist-app/
[3] http://www.w3.org/2000/03/29-XML-protocol-matrix
[4] http://discuss.develop.com/archives/wa.exe?A2=ind0003&L=SOAP&P=R36728


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mailto:danbri@w3.org
Received on Sunday, 7 May 2000 10:31:24 GMT

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