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Re: Why is RDF such a tough sell?

From: Stephen K. Rhoads <rhoads@thrupoint.net>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 16:19:33 -0400
Message-ID: <006301c21bbc$7533dd10$7ddac040@rhoads>
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>

Are RDF and XML Schema competing solutions?  Yes.  Here is an analogy to
human speech which I like to make:

RDF:

XML         --->  Vocal Chords
RDF         --->  Grammar
RDF Schema  --->  Vocabulary

XML Schema:

XML         --->  Vocal Chords
XML Schema  --->  Grammar/Vocabulary

RDF, if you will, adds a layer of abstraction to break the communication
problem into manageable pieces.  It provides a standard schema which can be
utilized rather than reinventing the wheel over and over again.

Why is RDF such a tough sell?  Two reasons, IMO:

1. Folks haven't gotten the vision yet.

One of the fundamental principles of RDF is that you can perform useful
operations on data even when the meaning of the attributes utilized is
outside of your "vocabulary".  Imagine the search engines of the future;
they can either be built to understand *just* the RDF model and "plug in"
vocabularies as needed, or they will be stuck attempting to understand
potentially thousands of independently developed XML Schemas.  I suspect
that the human development time will be orders of magnitude greater for the
latter option.

2. Lack of good education material.

I am reasonably technically proficient and yet I had to read (a) the
Model/Syntax Specification, (b) the RDF Schema Specification, (c) the RDF
Primer, and (d) various peripheral documents TWO OR THREE times each before
I "got it".  And yet, RDF is a very simple, yet powerful, protocol.

3. It's not yet deployed in HTML editors/browsers.  Once folks start
plugging metadata into their run-of-the-mill HTML editors and see RDF
statements popping up in their code, the landscape will change.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: <MDaconta@aol.com>
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 12:24 PM
Subject: Why is RDF such a tough sell?


> 
> Hi everyone,
> 
> I am fairly new to this list but hope you can help me 
> in defending RDF as an architectural direction.
> About six months ago, for a government integration project we
> proposed RDF as our registry data model but encountered 
> significant resistance from developers, data architects and 
> decision makers.  One suprising source of resistance was 
> from an XML instructor who stated (to the class), "RDF is unnecessary, 
> Schema can do everything RDF can."
> 
> So, although this issue has many angles, I'd like to begin with
> this question, "Are RDF and Schema competitors?"  
> 
> I think this is a central issue as most current RDF examples (like 
> dublin core and RSS) could be done with Schema.  My gut feel is
> that current RDF applications have not demonstrated the power
> of a "killer relationship" between resources (or concepts).
> 
> What are your thoughts or experiences?
> Have others experienced this Schema versus RDF problem?
> 
> I am getting ready to redress this issue and I would like
> to have as much ammunition as I can carry.  Of course, 
> concrete examples are best.
> 
> Looking forward to discussing this,
> 
>  - Mike
> -------------------------------
> Michael C. Daconta
> Director, Web and Technology Services
> www.mcbrad.com
Received on Monday, 24 June 2002 16:22:41 GMT

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