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Re: [JSON] Elephant in the room

From: Peter Frederick Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 13:00:44 -0400
Message-ID: <20110323.130044.987289285557899134.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: RDF WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
CC: <nathan@webr3.org>
From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Subject: [JSON] Elephant in the room
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 11:22:10 -0500

> 
> Just wanted to capture something I don't think I've conveyed until now:
> 
> Almost every developer I know, from enterprise to bedroom developers, 
> work primarily with OO oriented languages, or key/value data structures 
> in functional languages.
> 
> The primary *huge* issue here, is that most people can't work with 
> triples and graphs without special tooling. Not to mention that it's 
> highly unfamiliar to them.

Although I sympathize with the sentiments here, the reasoning doesn't
seem right to me.

After all, the native data structures in the programming languages that
most people use are not trees, but instead form ... [wait for it]
... arbitrary graphs.  Of course, in strict functional langauges trees
are native, not graphs, but most developers don't use strict functional
languages.

> Send an object with an id over the wire and people can use it, it's 
> familiar, they "get it", send them a triple, and they're lost - even if 
> they grok the graph and triple, they don't have the machinery to handle 
> it often.

Hmm.   What about relational and object-oriented data bases?  These
handle generalizations of graphs and triples.  As well, relational data
bases often separate the parts of what one might think of as an object.

> This is pretty much the sole reason that every developer I know outside 
> of the sem web community does not use RDF in any way, even though they 
> like the concepts and would like "linked data".

I don't think that this is the reason.  

My speculation is that the disconnect is in a different place, namely
the difference between the open data model of RDF and the closed data
model of many object-oriented languages (or, maybe, of many
object-oriented minds).

Another related potential disconnect is that the RDF triples that one might
think of as constituting an RDF object don't need to be contiguous in an
RDF document, whereas people tend to think of an object and its
properties as one unit.  Of course, RDF/XML contains an attempt to
regain this continuity, and RDF/XML doesn't seem to be part of the
solution, so maybe this disconnect isn't so important.

> Best,
> 
> Nathan

peter
Received on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 17:01:42 UTC

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