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LANG: Strawman syntax was RE: parseType="daml:list" doesn't cut it

From: Jonathan Borden <jonathan@openhealth.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 18:33:07 -0500
Message-ID: <03c401c1c49e$257b02a0$0a2e249b@nemc.org>
To: "Smith, Michael K" <michael.smith@eds.com>, "Jim Hendler" <hendler@cs.umd.edu>, "www-webont-wg" <www-webont-wg@w3.org>
Smith, Michael K wrote:

Toward your motion I would like to put up a strawman RDF extension syntax
(RDFxt) for discussion:

This syntax has been developed first as an abstract syntax, the surface XML
syntax is derived from a compact XML representation of s-expressions:


At the end are two appendices, the first describing conversion of N3 into
RDFxt. The second some notes on representing RDFxt in base RDF i.e. as

I am putting this out before it is complete, notably I have not yet
finalized a formal grammar for the surface XML syntax.


> -----------------------------------------------------------
> MOTION: The primary syntax for OWL will be defined in XML.
> WHY:
> 1. We want to lower any potential barriers to adoption of OWL.  XML is
> vastly ahead of triples or N3 in terms of acceptance by the larger web
> community, especially the developer community.
> 2. Our charter states: "The language will use the XML syntax and datatypes
> wherever possible, and will be designed for maximum compatibility with XML
> and RDF language conventions."  I take the first clause ("will use the XML
> syntax wherever possible") as primary.
> 3. It is clear from reading the DAML+OIL documents that XML was deemed an
> appropriate presentation syntax by at least part of this community.
> DAML+OIL is supposed to be our starting point.
> 4. I am assuming that we intend that OWL assertions can be inserted into
> and XHTML documents.  Triples are not going to be the most useful
> 5. We need to support XML literals.  Mixing <ebXML:po>...</ebXML:po> with
> triple syntax requires a parser within a parser.
> 6. I assert (with no evidence) that it is easier to precisely specify the
> translation of XML syntax to triples than vice-versa.  This could even be
> made a formal appendix to the syntax, providing a blessed interface for
> existing triple-centric systems.
> Finally, it has been argued that there are RDF graphs that cannot be
> expressed using the XML syntax.  I believe that this represents a failing
> RDF to meet the current general goals of the W3C (an historical
> But this is one potentially serious argument against this motion.  The
> question would seem to come down to whether those things that we cannot
> state in the XML syntax are critical to OWL.  Do we have any use cases
> identify such a need?  Additionally, this is one of those points noted by
> Peter, where what we decide will impact layering.
> - Mike
> Michael K. Smith
> EDS Austin Innovation Centre
> 98 San Jacinto, #500
> Austin, TX 78701
> 512 404-6683
Received on Tuesday, 5 March 2002 18:36:03 UTC

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