W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-ws-arch@w3.org > February 2003

Re: Including Semantics

From: Duane Nickull <duane@xmlglobal.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 09:59:29 -0800
Message-ID: <3E512301.5010201@xmlglobal.com>
To: "Burdett, David" <david.burdett@commerceone.com>
Cc: "'Assaf Arkin'" <arkin@intalio.com>, www-ws-arch@w3.org


Is there a chance I can set up a meeting with you this week at your office?


Burdett, David wrote:
> Assaf
> There are interesting ideas in your email but I don't think you've 
> answered my original question which is how all this relates to the 
> Semantic Web activity and RDF ... see more detailed comments below.
> David
>     -----Original Message-----
>     From: Assaf Arkin [mailto:arkin@intalio.com]
>     Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2003 6:33 PM
>     To: Burdett, David; 'Duane Nickull'
>     Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
>     Subject: RE: Including Semantics
>     What you want to have are different semantic languages and a
>     framework that associates all that information together. For
>     example, XSDL would define some of the semantics of a message. It
>     can tell me that a purchase order contains one or more line items, a
>     billing address and a shipping address.
>     [David Burdett] True, but XSDL does not tell you what a shipping
>     address >>means<<. It might be pretty obvious based on our common experience
>     and therefore does not need any explanation. But this is not the
>     case for much of the information transported in business documents.
>     XSDL only gives you a structure and method of identfying individual
>     pieces of information - it's not enough
>      In a different language, e.g. WSDL, I could say that a purchase
>     order is required as the input for an operation and that the
>     operation does not result in an immediate response.
>     [David Burdett] Again I think you are making assumptions. For
>     example what do you mean by a "response". Does it mean, for example,
>     a) "I got the message but have done nothing with it", or b) "I've
>     got the message and it's structure looks OK, i.e. I haven't checked
>     that codes (e.g. productids) are valid, or stock availabilty", or c)
>     "I've checked it and here's information on the extend to which I can
>     satisfy your order". This is all semantic information that, I doubt
>     would go in a WSDL definition.
>     You can introduce other languages that say interesting things about
>     that operation. For example, a cost language would introduce a cost
>     property and a way to express the cost calculated from purchase
>     order message. So you can say there's a property called 'cost' and
>     determine that value of that property given a purchase order message.
>     [David Burdett] I think I get this, but if you did have such a
>     language, who or what would use it? It's not clear to me. 
>     Another language could define an object called delivery with
>     multiple properties, reference the purchase order message as
>     indicating the product property, an accept response as indicating
>     the agent promising to deliver, and a delivery notice as indicating
>     truth of delivery property. That 'delivery' object does not exist,
>     but if you participate in the business choreography you can draw a
>     lot of conclusions about the delivery status by observing how its
>     virtual properties are modified during different states of the process.
>     On a conceptual level this is very interesting since it allows the
>     development of even smarter applications based on what is already
>     there. That logical delivery object can be defined in terms of
>     existing purchase order scenarios, even if you're running a COBOL
>     application written thirty years ago.
>     [David Burdett] I agree that the being able to abstract existing
>     applications is important 
>     On a practical level, I will take a few years before we have the
>     understanding of how to define such semantics on a larger scale and
>     actual products that operate on that semantic. So right now it
>     doesn't solve any problem.
>     [David Burdett] Who do you think would be the right organization to
>     develop these semantics and how to define them.
>     But if you look at a combination like WSCI + WSDL + XSDL you can see
>     that the semantic of WSCI express the context in which a WSDL
>     operation is used and the semantic of the WSDL operation expresses
>     what the WSDL type is used for. So we're already doing some limited
>     semantic work on a step by step basis. And just like the logical
>     delivery object above, the process that occurs between the services
>     doesn't really exist, it's only inferred from how they operate
>     together, and the operation doesn't really exist, it's only an
>     understanding of the meaning of sending some input and receiving
>     some output.
>     arkin
>         -----Original Message-----
>         From: Burdett, David [mailto:david.burdett@commerceone.com]
>         Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2003 12:15 PM
>         To: 'Assaf Arkin'; Burdett, David; 'Duane Nickull'
>         Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
>         Subject: RE: Including Semantics
>         Assaf
>         I agree with all of your email, especially the need for
>         descriptions at the particle level, apart from the assertion
>         "For computer processing RDF gives you a good framework".
>         Perhaps it does, but for the problem in hand, I don't see how it
>         is directly usable now. How would you, for example, actually use
>         an RDF description of a business document when desiging,
>         building or operating a computer system that wants to generate
>         or process XML based business documents.
>         David 
>             -----Original Message-----
>             From: Assaf Arkin [mailto:arkin@intalio.com]
>             Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2003 11:00 AM
>             To: Burdett, David; 'Duane Nickull'
>             Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
>             Subject: RE: Including Semantics
>                 I think it really boils down to how the information is
>                 going to be >used<. Most information in business documents ends up
>                 either being printed or displayed for human consumption,
>                 or mapped to some internal format to populate
>                 information in an ERP system say. In both these cases
>                 you need a very clear definition of the meaning of the
>                 data that either a human can understand as help when
>                 viewing a document or can be used by another human to do
>                 a good map between external and internal formats. I
>                 don't see how RDF would help with this and I can't
>                 imagine a software tool that could make good use of it
>                 in this context.
>                 For computer processing RDF gives you a good framework
>                 and it can also contain information for human
>                 consumption (e.g. HTML formatted text). But practically
>                 speaking, we're still at the point where people do all
>                 that work, so what we need is way to annotate the
>                 information and present some textual information to the
>                 user.
>                 XSDL, WSDL and most other recent specifications have
>                 ways of annotating definitions. Ideally you should be
>                 able to annotate any definition, not just a top-level
>                 one, e.g. a particle in the XSDL content, an operation
>                 from a port type, etc.
>                 The namespace by itself is insufficient because you can
>                 have multiple definitions in the same namespace. But
>                 often some of the semantics is captured by the namespace
>                 on its own. For example,
>                 http://example.com/trading/futures may indicate that all
>                 related definitions deal with trading in futures. It
>                 won't tell you what a specific data type means, or what
>                 a particular operation does. But when you browse a
>                 repository of type/service/process definitions, it lets
>                 you easily determine what context you are looking at.
>                 arkin
>                 I accept I may be completely missing something - can
>                 anyone clarify?
>                 David
>                     -----Original Message-----
>                     From: Assaf Arkin [mailto:arkin@intalio.com]
>                     Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 9:49 PM
>                     To: Burdett, David; 'Duane Nickull'
>                     Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
>                     Subject: RE: Including Semantics
>                         -----Original Message-----
>                         From: www-ws-arch-request@w3.org
>                         [mailto:www-ws-arch-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of
>                         Burdett, David
>                         Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 4:30 PM
>                         To: 'Duane Nickull'
>                         Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
>                         Subject: Including Semantics
>                         Duane asked ...
>                          >>>One missing component I would like to see is
>                         semantics.  David - do you
>                         think there is a way to leverage the semantics
>                         of UBL, CCTS for the WSAG?<<<
>                         Semantics is a whole big topic on its own, but
>                         here's my take of the semantic information that
>                         you might need to define. Note I'm looking at
>                         this from a "business use" perspective:
>                         1. Document Semantics. At the highest level a
>                         namespace identifies a document as consisting of
>                         a set of fields. Within this there are two
>                         additional levels to consider:
>                           a) Individual fields. Each field needs to be
>                         defined, e.g. what does "CustomerId" mean, e.g.
>                         is it the ID by which the Customer identifies
>                         themselves or the id which the supplier uses to
>                         identify the customer?
>                           b) Fields within a document, e.g. The Customer
>                         ID could appear can appear in multiple places in
>                         the document - how does its meaning vary
>                         depending on where it exists.
>                         2. Context Dependent Semantics. The content of a
>                         message can also depend on the context in which
>                         it is being used, for example an Invoice in
>                         Europe is different from an Invoice in the US as
>                         it contains different fields. Similarly an
>                         Invoice used in the travel industry contains
>                         additional line item information (e.g flight
>                         segments) that other industries (e.g. the
>                         chemical industry) don't need.
>                         3. Message Semantics. Messages >can< consist of
>                         multiple parts where you could describe each
>                         "part" as a document. You then need to, in the
>                         context of the message, define what each
>                         document mean, for example you might want to
>                         attach a supplier generated delivery note when
>                         requesting a "return materials advice" for some
>                         faulty goods. In this case the delivery note is
>                         evidence that delivery occured. This is
>                         different from its first use when the delivery
>                         note informs the buyer of what the supplier has
>                         shipped, but not yet delivered.
>                         4. Transaction Semantics. The same message with
>                         the same structure and same semantics can be
>                         treated differently depending on where it is
>                         being sent and the context in which it is being
>                         used. For example sending an Order Message to an
>                         off-site archival service for archiving would
>                         have different meaning than sending the
>                         "identical" message to a supplier.
>                         So yes I think you could leverage the semantics
>                         of UBL etc, but that is just the start and my
>                         best >guess< is that you could use header
>                         information in a SOAP message to codify the
>                         semantics of the message ... although this sound
>                         very non-RESTafarian ;)
>                         Also ... this is a trout hole ... how does the
>                         W3C work on the Semantic Web fit in with all of
>                         this ;)  
>                         Just looking at the perspective of Semantic Web,
>                         could we not use RDF to create maps of semantic
>                         information?
>                         For example, I can describe the semantics of a
>                         type using RDF (customerID) by referencing the
>                         type definition, but also the semantics of the
>                         content of a type (order/billing/address vs.
>                         order/shipping/address) if I can reference an
>                         XSD particle. And I can have both semantics, one
>                         that applies to address in isolation, and one
>                         that extends that semantics when address is used
>                         in some context.
>                         I would guess that the same is possible for
>                         transactions. For example, e.g. the address of
>                         the invoice that is sent by activity X of
>                         transaction Y. All I need is a way to reference
>                         a resource that can be part of a larger resource
>                         in the RDF description and then provide that
>                         semantic in the RDF.
>                         arkin
>                         David
>                         -----Original Message-----
>                         From: Duane Nickull [mailto:duane@xmlglobal.com]
>                         Sent: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 4:00 PM
>                         To: Burdett, David
>                         Cc: www-ws-arch@w3.org
>                         Subject: Re: Layers in the WSA (was RE: [Fwd:
>                         UN/CEFACT TMG Releases
>                         e-Bus ines s Architecture Technical
>                         Specification for Public Review])
>                         <SNIP/>

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Received on Monday, 17 February 2003 12:59:32 UTC

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