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Re: Web services and the Semantic Web

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Sun, 26 May 2002 13:26:21 -0400
To: "Champion, Mike" <Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com>
Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
Message-ID: <20020526132621.C8280@www.markbaker.ca>
On Sun, May 26, 2002 at 07:47:14AM -0600, Champion, Mike wrote:
> I think that's where "ontologies" come in. There would be some network of 
> assertions that knows that a "wardrobe" (in some culture, for some gender,
> for some age, climate, etc.) consists of shoes, socks, trousers, shirt, etc.
> I suppose that some other "ontology" would understand the process of
> ordering clothing (determine size, find a supplier, negotiate a price, place
> an order ...).  The point, I guess, is that all these networks of assertions
> can be processed by quite generic code -- rather than writing procedural
> "buy a wardrobe" or "shop for shoes" code when a need for it arises, one
> builds RDF data (linked to other ontologies on the Web).

That's mostly correct.

> More realistically, I would guess that the ontologies that one would develop
> in the real world web services context would be at a much lower level.  For
> example, presumably WSDL could be replaced by an ontology for describing web
> services invocation and responses, and a security markup language replaced
> by an ontology for describing authentication, access control, encryption,
> etc.

Now you're talking.

> I agree.  I have a somewhat schizophrenic attitude toward this
> stuff ... I would like to believe it will work, but it sounds
> too much like AI things that I was excited about in grad school 
> 25 years ago (sigh) that were going to be big ... Real Soon Now.
> Still, the thing I most clearly remember from my AI class
> in 1977 is probably still true today -- this stuff works best
> in quite limited domains (or what a colleague calls "the really
> banal level" 
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2002Feb/0045.html )

I personally despise AI, but also don't see the Semantic Web as having
*anything* to do with it.  Perhaps there's some overlap, I don't know or
care.  I just know that the Semantic Web helps me get my job done today,
in a manner consistent with how the rest of the Web works (hypertext).
Web services claim to be able to help me with these problems, but in a
very similar way to other architectures that failed on the Internet
(such as CORBA/OMA).

If there are two ways to solve the same problem on the Internet, where
one reuses Web architecture, and the other uses a failed (on the
Internet) architecture, I know which one I'd choose every time.

Mark Baker, CTO, Idokorro Mobile (formerly Planetfred)
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.               distobj@acm.org
http://www.markbaker.ca        http://www.idokorro.com
Received on Sunday, 26 May 2002 13:17:37 UTC

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