W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-logic@w3.org > August 2001

Re: XML Serialization

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 15:21:43 -0400
Message-Id: <200108301921.f7UJLhS03677@wadimousa.hawke.org>
To: Drew McDermott <drew.mcdermott@yale.edu>
Cc: www-rdf-logic@w3.org

> <digression type="paranoid">
> </digression>

Cute, but I think it's just a case of people try to solve a different
problem.  XML is reasonable for marking up texts -- like indicating
how a paper should be formatted -- isn't it?   The redundant end tag
is a bit silly, but probably good human engineering, like commenting
your #endifs.   (And of course, you used it brilliantly in your
e-mail.  :-)

Now, why did the RDF WG chose XML instead of s-expressions or
something else elegant?  I wasn't there, but I love rumor mongering
and wild speculation.  Maybe they figured in the mood of the day, it
would give RDF a leg up.  And it probably did, with the librarians.
Perhaps it wasn more of a leg iron to the computer scientists, though.

> A constructive suggestion: Why not make N3 the official version of the
> RDF syntax?  There would be several advantages:
> > It would eliminate confusion over the sense in which RDF graphs are
>   a notation, not a domain of discourse.
> > It would be serialized *already.*  Because N3 is the primary
>   serialization, the XML serialization would be secondary, as it
>   should be.
> > N3 embodies a goodie or two don't exist in the official RDF, and
>   this would be a good way to sneak them in.

While I heartily agree with your gist here, I have a technical reason
why not: N3 has lots of issues, too.

I do wish we could have the debate over what is the right language,
but I think the only practical way to make it happen and make it
involve little loss of blood is to be secure in the knowledge that the
language doesn't really matter, because it's the graph that counts.

If we do pick a character-sequence notation as the fundamental
standard, I think it should be as simple as possible.  Something like
N-Triples, although I can think of at least four big issues with even
something that simple.  (identifier syntax, literal syntax [and type],
equality, and nesting.)

I've been trying to demonstrate (in a practical, intuitive way) the
equivalence of languages [1], but it's hard and there may be other
things I should be working on.  (I'm also dying to design new
languages [2] here, but I know there are other things I should be
working on.)

     -- sandro

[1] http://www.w3.org/2001/06/blindfold/grammar
[2] http://www.w3.org/2000/12/swan
Received on Thursday, 30 August 2001 15:21:40 UTC

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