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RE: ANNOUNCEMENT: RDFStyles: alternative to XSLT for RDF

From: DuCharme, Bob (LNG-CHO) <bob.ducharme@lexisnexis.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 09:36:41 -0400
Message-ID: <FEF4858E8AB32D4EAC2CF2A7D85386EBE52D8A@lnxdayexch06.lexis-nexis.com>
To: "'Graham Klyne'" <GK@ninebynine.org>, www-rdf-interest@w3.org

Graham Klyne  wrote:
>At 11:37 21/10/03 -0400, DuCharme, Bob (LNG-CHO) wrote:
>>These syntactic variations are RDF's problem, not XSLT's, any more than
>>rendering of SVG or XForms are XSLT's problem. In other words, the root
>>cause of the sadness you describe is at
>>http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-syntax-grammar/, not at
http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt.

>I find comments like this to be unhelpful.

I did make one mistake there which apparently gave the wrong impression:
instead of saying "These syntactic variations are RDF's problem," I should
have said "RDF/XML's problem." (After all, RDF itself doesn't have a syntax,
right?) It looked to me like people were blaming XSLT for XML/RDF's
problems, so I pointed to the XSLT spec to make it clear that recognizing
RDF triples is not part of XSLT's job, and I probably should have pointed at
http://ilrt.org/people/cmdjb/2003/05/iswc/paper.html#sec-reported-probs
instead of the RDF/XML spec to more clearly make my point that the problems
that typical XML processing tools have with processing RDF are not the
tools' problems, but RDF/XML's. 

>XSLT is a pretty good hammer. But why does anyone think that XSLT is the 
>right general-purpose tool for manipulating RDF information?  Beats me.

It beats you because you're abstracting this up to the level of "RDF
information." No one considers XSLT to be the right general-purpose tool for
manipulating RDF information. XSLT is for processing XML. The W3C gave the
world an XML expression of RDF. People want to use their XML manipulation
tools to process this XML, and they're frustrated that they can't. Some
blame the tools themselves, which is what I was objecting to. If the problem
can be fixed at the root, which again is the existing RDF/XML expression of
RDF and not RDF itself, we'll all be better off, which is why I was happy to
see Tim Bray's http://www.textuality.com/xml/RPV.html and look forward to
further proposals for alternatives.

I'll bet a normalized representation of triples in XML plus some of the
extra features of XSLT 2.0 would make it possible to write some genuinely
useful RDF applications with XSLT. I will look into it. 

Bob
Received on Wednesday, 22 October 2003 09:36:51 GMT

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