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Why does OWL have an XML presentation syntax?

From: Matt Halstead <matt.halstead@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2003 18:12:51 +1200
Message-ID: <3F56D7E3.1090507@auckland.ac.nz>
To: "Www-Rdf-Interest@W3. Org" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>

I'm not actually sure what the value of OWL/XML syntax is, I am finding 
it hard to find a place where an OWL/XML document is useful for a 
machine. If it is meant to be useful to humans and not machines then I 
guess I'd rather look at KIF or abstract syntax.

I can see how it is nice to show how a particular OWL/XML construct is a 
clean and concise way of writing out a whole lot of RDF and RDF-S, 
obviously, you don't have to write out all the RDF/RDF-S structures of 
OWL to get the point across. But for a machine, there is no difference, 
one needs to break the OWL/XML down into rdf triples in order to build 
internal data structures, i.e. an OWL API which has nice human readable 
OWL constructs/interfaces will underneath process raw RDF/RDF-S, so it 
may as well just do this without constructing any intermediate form. I 
canít see anything special about OWL/XML that represents(ultimately in 
rdf) constructs to help one retrieve the original form of an instance of 
OWL abstract syntax that was constructed/intended, considering we can 
construct more than one OWL representation of the same thing. That would 
seem somewhat of a failure for an exchange language in some use-cases.

I keep coming back to the notion that the only time a machine would 
write out OWL/XML is for humans to look at it, and that doesn't seem a 
good reason.

When reading over RDF and OWL specifications, it would seem that the use 
of abbreviation and presentation forms, and an OWL/XML syntax in 
general, blurs the intention of generating some core RDF/XML and 
RDF-S/XML syntax that describes the normative interpretation of what the 
language is attempting to represent.

I'm always learning something new about the core intentions of XML, so 
someone pointing out why there is an OWL/XML syntax would help me.

regards

Matt
Received on Thursday, 4 September 2003 02:12:56 GMT

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