W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-owl-wg@w3.org > March 2009

a different approach to OWL/XML (was: draft responses for LC comment FH3/29)

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 09 Mar 2009 11:46:49 -0400
To: Bijan Parsia <bparsia@cs.man.ac.uk>
cc: W3C OWL Working Group <public-owl-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <30583.1236613609@ubehebe>

Jan writes: [1] 
> I can understand the problem of XML tools, but I think this must be
> solved by the/an RDF/XML WG, and *not* by the OWL WG.

Ivan writes:
> In fact, re-reading Jan's comments, I realize that his remark is a
> little bit different. He understands that the motivation for having
> OWL/XML is to have something that works well in an XML infrastructure
> but his claim is that an RDF WG should come up with an XML encoding of
> RDF that would play well with XML (and use that to encode OWL) rather
> than having a separate OWL/XML syntax.
>
> In an ideal world he has a point. I guess the answer is that the XML
> related community needs and XML encoding now and, at the moment, there
> are no known plans at W3C to start an RDF core WG that would be
> chartered to cover the issue. Furthermore, it would take several years
> to get there.

Michael writes:
> The OWL/XML syntax is /OWL/ specific, it is a syntax that directly
> supports specifying an OWL ontology as a set of axioms (and other OWL
> specific components). It's clear that producing such a kind of syntax is
> really not in the responsibility of an RDF WG. And it should at least be
> acceptable that an OWL WG /may/ produce such a "genuine" XML syntax. Just as
> other SemWeb languages do, such as SWRL, RIF and Powder.

Bijan writes:
> Here's, imho, a key point: I can now sensibly author OWL ontologies  
> in oXygen. I could before, but only with extreme pain to the point of  
> it not being worth it. I've started to build lots of little tools  
> using standard language (schematron is *great* for adding ad hoc  
> style/lint rules).

FWIW, I think procedurally we could do this.  No, it's not really our
place to define an XML-friendly RDF syntax that everyone is supposed to
use, but if we defined one for ourselves that happened to be good enough
for everyone else to use, IMHO no one would be too upset.

I also think technically we could do this.  We could either select a
subset of RDF/XML which is schema-friendly ("rigid RDF" [1]) or define a
somewhat cleaned-up version of that subset (probably not using the
RDF/XML namespace at all, "type-tagged XML").  It's something I've
thought a lot about.

Drawbacks:

    - It's more work now, since OWL/XML is more-or-less done.

    - OWL/XML would become more verbose; although it would probably be
      easier for machines to parse, it wouldn't be as good for the
      hand-authoring (in XML tools) that Bijan is talking about.  I
      suspect but don't really know that it would be about the same for
      for querying.

    - OWL 2 would have two mappings to RDF Graphs, a "regular" one,
      where each syntactic structure maps to an object with properties,
      and a more idiosyncratic on which extends RDFS (the one we
      currently have).

Advantages:

    - We'd have a cool new bit of infrastructure, a way to transmit
      structures so they could be understood and used by both XML and
      RDF toolchains.

    - If we used rigid RDF, the GRDDL question would go away.  :-) (If
      we used type-tagged XML, the GRDDL question would no longer be
      OWL-specific.  I don't know if that's an advantage or
      disadvantage.)

So, I think this is a good idea, and I'm willing to do work to see it
happen, but (of course) I'll understand if the WG isn't interested or
doesn't think it's worth it.

      -- Sandro

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-owl-comments/2009Mar/0000
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-rif-wg/2008May/0099
Received on Monday, 9 March 2009 15:52:55 UTC

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