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Re: XML vs. RDF vs. N-Triples vs. N3 vs. CSV saga is up again (was: Re: Toss NTriples -- RDF Reification is all we need )

From: Patrick Stickler <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Tue, 04 Jun 2002 14:56:29 +0300
To: <areggiori@webweaving.org>
CC: RDF Interest <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>, <dirkx@covalent.net>, Zavisa Bjelogrlic <netzac@virgilio.it>
Message-ID: <B922859D.16108%patrick.stickler@nokia.com>

On 2002-06-04 14:18, "ext Alberto Reggiori" <areggiori@webweaving.org>

> Patrick Stickler wrote:
>> On 2002-06-04 3:11, "ext Michael Kifer" <kifer@cs.sunysb.edu> wrote:
>>>>>>>> "SR" == "Seth Russell" <of Mon, 03 Jun 2002 10:35:26 PDT> writes:
>>>   MK> NTriples can be naturally encoded in XML and exchanged.
>>>   SR> Is that actually true?   How?
>>> <triple><subject ...>subj</subject><property>...</property> <object> ...
>>> </object> </triple>
>> Why of course. Why did we not see this before?!
> Hello Patrick,
> I have been following this forum for at least a couple of years now and I saw
> several colorful threads about the XML vs. RDF vs. N-Triples vs. N3 vs. CSV
> saga that now I can not even remember how many of them. I am pretty sure that
> your XML syntax for triples has been proposed on this list at least other
> four times in the past [1][2][3][4] (if not, those were slightly different).
> Together with them, there have been several different proposal of XML
> serialisations for RDF [5][6][7] and even the other way around [8]; then RDF
> as plain ASCII [9] text was proposed together with others similar syntax
> trying to have CSV (Comma Separated Value-s) aka N-Triples [10] versions of
> all the possible permutations of the others :) Some syntax are nicely
> human-readable while others just machine-understandable; there are syntax
> that compress beautifully while other less; some are UTF-8 compliant while
> others not. Some are stating statements while others are quoting them. Then
> we have real and dark-triples (DT) and so on and so on......and we could
> probably continue for another five years trying to enumerate the pros and
> cons of each approach or syntax without ending....ever! Is this process going
> to end at some moment?
> On the technical side, we could see instead that most of the proposed syntax
> have been more or less implemented by the RDF developers, and IMO that
> actually contributed to the success of the SW story today.
> From a pragmatic point of view, I agree with you Patrick (and others) that we
> need common concepts and paradigms to tame the RDF beast, trying to
> build some infrastructure to help information interoperability (and I do like
> your simplified syntax :) ; but (but!) we have to take care of not loosing
> control of the thing by having "no-sense" discussions or even worse
> "re-invent" our ideas over and over from time to time.
> Here are my questions:
> Aren't we in a dangerous loop sometimes?? :)
> How can people believe us?
> How could we expect developers to adopt RDF and understand what the SW is if
> we keep on proposing and changing our minds every certain random number of
> months?
> Why XML has been a success while RDF not yet? Implementations perhaps? Or
> simple because XML has an easy to use and understand spec/model?
> IMHO the RDF Core WG has been set up with some of these questions in mind,
> and I think they are trying to fix and address various flaws and problems in
> the original XML/RDF model and syntax, providing some canonical RDF form that
> everybody can understand and use. Till today the WG has been actively and
> incrementally proposing concrete solutions to concrete problems i.e. they
> have been enabling developers to write software :-) On our side we should
> probably try to be more constructive instead of "destructive" and contribute
> more to the WG work; I personally find the www-rdf-* mail archives a quite
> nice knowledge-base to write software :-)

Well, being a member of the RDF Core WG I try to contribute on both
sides ;-)

Depending on the nature of the thread/topic, I might choose to express
my ideas an opinions here, rather than on the WG list, though most/all
of the WG also hang out here as well.

Apologies if my suggestions seemed a tad too radical or passe, or
seemed to disregard the valuable history of this group and the Core WG.

> Some weeks ago a friend of mine gave a presentation about "buzzwords:
> candidates" in which he was trying to explain how the "acceptance" and the
> success of a spec is somehow proportional to the size of the spec self  e.g.
> SGML vs. HTML vs XML, X.400 vs. SMTP, Z.39.50 vs. RDF, X.500 vs. LDAP vs.
> CNRP and so on..... I think he was quite right there and that's why I like
> the RDF model simplicity and I believe it could potentially be a success. But
> to make it a success we should probably also answer to the following
> questions as well:
> What happens in the past?
> Can't we learn from past experience?
> How is the complexity of the standardisation process related to
> simplicity/smooth of learning of a technology?
> How is the duration of a standardisation process related to the market-driven
> technology evolution?
> Is the wait-and-see and prototype before standardising paradigm ever worked
> here?
> I am sorry for the large number of questions being asked in this email, but
> as RDF fun and developer I would really like to see it happening at some
> moment in the near future :) I do not want to worry anymore about what will
> happen tomorrow, whether a new syntax will be proposed by some clever mind or
> instead we will have  finally got RDF M&S 1.1 from which we can start writing
> the next layer on :-)

My conerns are also about seeing RDF have maximal adoption and use
in the near future -- which is why I am often concerned about what
the overall burden will be on users and implementors.



> best regards
> Alberto
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2000Sep/0217.html
> [2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2000Sep/0131.html
> [3] http://www.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/discovery/rdf-dev/rudolf/js-rdf/
> [4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2000May/0009.html
> [5] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-rdf-syntax-19990222/
> [6] http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-syntax-grammar/
> [7] http://www-db.stanford.edu/~melnik/rdf/syntax.html
> [8]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2000Sep/att-0129/01-xlink
> 2rdf3.html
> [9] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Notation3.html
> [10] http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/RDFCore/ntriples/

Patrick Stickler              Phone: +358 50 483 9453
Senior Research Scientist     Fax:   +358 7180 35409
Nokia Research Center         Email: patrick.stickler@nokia.com
Received on Tuesday, 4 June 2002 07:53:25 UTC

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