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Re: silly question about rdf:about

From: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
Date: Sun, 07 Apr 2002 10:57:08 -0600
Message-Id: <200204071657.g37Gv8101685@localhost.localdomain>
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
cc: www-rdf-interest@w3.org
> Why is rdf:about treated as magic syntax?  Wouldn't everything work
> the same in the grammar if
> http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#about were just another
> property?

I now I'm pursuing a cheap form of argument here, but I can't resist likening 
your statement to the old saw: why treat angle brackets as magic syntax?  Why 
not allow the markup language to define the tag delimiters, and then we can 
use markup delimiters in all sorts of strange and wonderful ways?

This is one of the feature flourishes that led SGML down the path to 
incomprehensibility, and I don't see why we have to play hocus pocus with a 
basic syntactic device of the RDF/XML serialization.

rdf:about is nothing but a convenience for specifying the subject of multiple 
statements in a convenient syntax.  It has no standing whatsoever in the 
model, or in the concept of the description.  That's the way it should stay.

If one doesn't like it, there is always N3.

And actually, it would be nice to get a standard straight triple XML 
serialization for RDF.  I think Jonathan Borden once posted the obvious 
approach.  Any reason not to make this official in some way?

If we had such, it would be another way to avoid distraction by serialization 

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 720 320 2046
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com 
4735 East Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
XML strategy, XML tools (http://4Suite.org), knowledge management
Track chair, XML/Web Services One (San Jose, Boston): 
Received on Sunday, 7 April 2002 12:57:59 UTC

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