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From: Brian Smith <Brian.Smith@SOPHCO.COM>
Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2000 12:10:50 +0100
Message-ID: <D8B397AA9AA8D3119E7A000629386D09010370@ntserver1>
To: "'www-rdf-interest@w3.org'" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
To whom it may concern

I enclose a copy of a recent email exchange between Renato Iannella and
myself concerning the impenetrable, prolix writing style used within W3C
documents which I hope is found to be both provocative and worth doing
something about.

Best wishes

Brian Smith


Brian, believe it or not, I agree with what you are saying.
Since being involved with RDF in the "early days" I can say that
it has turned out to be less useful than I had hoped - and overtaken
by "logic" people.

I suggest that your feelings about RDF be sent to the RDF Interest
Group list for discussion:




--On 5/10/00 5:11 PM +0100 Brian Smith wrote:

> Dear Renato
> I'm trying to get my head round XML, RDF, Dublin Core and all the rest
> and I was drawn to your article "An Idiot's Guide to the Resource
> Description Framework".
> I don't know what Australian idiots are like but ours (and I include
> myself here) cannot handle sentences like "RDF is based on a concrete
> formal model utilising directed graphs that elude to the semantics of
> resource description". I know precisely what each word means but the
> sentence? Forget it.
> Is there no recognition amongst the W3C that we (employers) have to be
> able to find people who can use these developments; ie write code and
> such like. It is a complete waste of time academics constructing
> which only a small percentage of the brighter population can deal with
> and no surprise to me that it is now nearly six years since the
> in Dublin, Ohio came up with the Dublin Core which you are still
> to get off the ground.
> I am not stupid, I have worked in IT as a programmer, systems analyst,
> consultant etc since 1968 but I've just spent four days trying to get
> grips with this technology and I am baffled. Do you honestly believe
> that anybody could write more than, say, three of four lines of XML
> without making an error? Do you believe that a normally intelligent
> person could then easily find and correct the error? Do you believe
> a normal, sane person could have the first idea of what you are
> about from reading the material from the W3C?
> Yours and your colleague's work is totally fixated with the almost
> religious purity of computing science and, as a result, I think you
> taking us back to the days of ASSEMBLER when programming was for the
> elite few because it was so damned difficult to do.
> I can give you lots more samples like the sentence I quoted earlier.
> "The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is a cross-disciplinary
> international effort to develop mechanisms for the discovery-oriented
> description of diverse resources in an electronic environment".
> "The metadata ecology of the Internet will be partitioned into many
> modular niches, each targeted to particular functions or communities"
> Never mind the awful English, what does it MEAN?
> One more for luck, and this is a beauty so I've quoted it in full.
> "The great power of both XML and RDF is the ability for individual
> content providing communities to declare their own modes of expression
> for the description of resources of importance to them. However,
> than having each community develop a comprehensive system describing
> aspects of their resources, XML and RDF offer a more interoperable
> foundation whereby a single description may comprise elements drawn
> any number of accessible recording practices".
> I've taken the liberty of italicising the more ridiculous phrases but
> I'm sure you'll get my point. It's almost as though the author was
> writing for a Social Sciences tract. We chaps in the real world need
> working, practical documents we can reliably and quickly understand.
> Surely you can see that you are taking us down a path we cannot afford
> to travel? Programming, systems development, call it what you will,
> whether it is for applications or text systems, must be open to the
> of people or we'll all go broke trying to pay the wages of the few
> people capable of producing something.
> Come on, give us a break. Tell us a) what you mean, b) how we can use
> and c) how we can set standards for project quality and management. We
> need simple, memorable syntax and constructions which can be taught
> and written by people of average intelligence and which can be easily
> and reliably checked, corrected and quality controlled.
>> From the heart.
> Best wishes.
> Brian E Smith
> Managing Director

Cheers...Renato                      <http://purl.net/net/renato>
Chief Scientist, IPR Systems Pty Ltd      <http://iprsystems.com>
...............................unlocking the value of information

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Received on Monday, 9 October 2000 07:10:49 UTC

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