W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-logic@w3.org > January 2005

Re: RDF as a syntax for OWL (was Re: same-syntax extensions to RDF)

From: Jeen Broekstra <jeen@aduna.biz>
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2005 16:35:58 +0100
Message-ID: <41DD5ADE.2080707@aduna.biz>
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@isr.umd.edu>
Cc: www-rdf-logic@w3.org

Bijan Parsia wrote:


> There isn't "a" problem. There's building ontologies in, tools for,
>  applications using, and extensions of OWL (and RDF), plus teaching
>  and explaining it to people. I've not found it useful for any of 
> these, and typically not neutral for them either.

My own experience in developing semantic web tools has not nearly been
so heinous (although of course it wasn't always a pleasure either),
which is probably why I have been questioning your finding. Also, in
teaching about the semantic web stack I have not had any particular 
problems with the fact that the knowledge is represented in graphs. 
The students did have problems with the RDF/XML syntax though.


>> perhaps I have read that wrong however. If your only point is 
>> that for some tasks (like nnf conversion and species validation),
>>  triples are an unwieldy representation format, and that other 
>> formats are much better suited for these tasks, then fine,
> *Most* tasks. And dude, thus far I've come up with killer examples,
>  and you've come up with nothing. Show me an implementation task 
> that's only a *little* worse using the triple representation.

There are tons of implementation tasks in which the triples do not
"get in the way" and are even at times beneficial. Representing
thesauri for example, or integrating multiple knowledge sources, or
implementing semantic p2p systems, or querying RDF/RDFS/OWL, or...
sheesh I don't know what type of example to quote. See my homepage[1]
for some papers on application development with/for RDF/RDFS/OWL. See 
the lists of applications that make use of Jena or Sesame or Redland, 
SWI Prolog, or... The naked fact that production systems actually run 
with this stuff should be evidence alone that it cannot be as much of 
a development nightmare as you claim (and again: I'm not claiming it's 
all wonderful shiny happy either).

Again: yes, for syntactic validation stuff like the examples you've
quoted, I'm perfectly willing to accept that that is troublesome using
triples (you've shown it, I believe it. We have no quarrel here). But
for all your claims that this applies to "most tasks" where RDF and
OWL are concerned, my own experience does not back this up. The
problem may lie in that we may have very different ideas on what
constitutes an RDF/OWL "task".

That is all. I'm not claiming you are an idiot for saying the things
you say, I'm not questioning your observation that for the tasks you
tried to implement, triples were a burden. I'm trying to determine how
much your claim can be generalized from your specific examples to your
claimed "most tasks". I do admit that my insistence on using a
different representation for the tasks you mentioned was based on a
misunderstanding on my part, so sorry for that. But I honestly don't
understand why you find that so offensive, or why you insist on being
personally insulting in return (in the same message in which you claim 
to offer a 'group hug' no less). Ah, let's just forget about it.

In any case, I'm bowing out of this conversation. My apologies to the 
list for the scene all of this has caused (although I'm sure at least 
some of you were mildly entertained).



[1] http://www.cs.vu.nl/~jbroeks/
Jeen Broekstra          Aduna BV
Knowledge Engineer      Julianaplein 14b, 3817 CS Amersfoort
http://aduna.biz        The Netherlands
tel. +31(0)33 46599877  fax. +31(0)33 46599877
Received on Thursday, 6 January 2005 15:35:20 UTC

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