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Re: Including Semantics

From: Duane Nickull <duane@xmlglobal.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 10:00:16 -0800
Message-ID: <3E512330.4030900@xmlglobal.com>
To: Duane Nickull <duane@xmlglobal.com>
Cc: "Burdett, David" <david.burdett@commerceone.com>, "'Assaf Arkin'" <arkin@intalio.com>, www-ws-arch@w3.org

please ignore this last message.  It was not meant for the list.


Duane Nickull wrote:
> Assaf:
> Is there a chance I can set up a meeting with you this week at your office?
> Duane
> 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 13:00:17 UTC

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