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Re: Alternatives to XML for RDF?

From: Ashley Yakeley <ashley@semantic.org>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 02:43:03 -0700
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org
Message-ID: <ashley-273556.02430312082003@sea.gmane.org>

In article <Pine.LNX.4.55.0308092239040.17968@homer.w3.org>,
 Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org> wrote:

> Many people represent it through an interface - such as nodes and arcs
> diagrams, in RDFAuthor [1] or IsaViz [2], or more specialised versions such
> as foafnaut [3] or IsaViz's GSS.

I'm looking for a human-friendly file format, on a usability par with a 
well-designed programming language.

> [1] http://rdfweb.org/people/damian/RDFAuthor/
> [2] http://www.w3.org/2001/11/IsaViz/
> [3] http://foafnaut.org/
> 
> XML is nice because it can be used with XML tools - XQuery, Xforms, XSLT,
> etc.

To a certain extent, but the XML tools mostly merely compensate for the 
bad idea of putting RDF in XML in the first place.

> But I agree, the syntax looks ugly.

It is ugly (one word: "striping"). NTriples has the advantage of having 
a very simple model, and therefore easy to emit and parse, even if it's 
not something very human-friendly. Full Notation3 is more complex, but 
much easier for people to write and understand. It seems to be what I'm 
currently looking for.

RDF in XML is the worst of both worlds. I've written a parser for it, 
first having written a general XML parser, and it's fairly complex. RDF 
simply isn't well-suited to XML. XML is not a structured-data panacea: 
it's good for what I call "fruit trees", tree-like structures with stuff 
attached to the nodes, but it's very poor for heterarchic triples graph 
structures such as RDF.

> (But then, I find most code syntax
> looks ugly - fortunately I am not a computer program and can find or develop
> a nicer interface to it ;-)

I disagree, I write software in a number of languages, and there is such 
a thing as good syntax for a programming language. So there should be 
for data languages.

-- 
Ashley Yakeley, Seattle WA
Received on Tuesday, 12 August 2003 05:43:08 GMT

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