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RE: [ALL] Human-friendly syntax for communicating OWL fragments

From: Frank van Harmelen <Frank.van.Harmelen@cs.vu.nl>
Date: Mon, 05 Apr 2004 23:39:40 +0200
To: public-swbp-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <131008320.1081208380@[192.168.1.102]>

As a non-member of the WG, I'm reluctant to interfere, but since it's on the 
public list, what the heck:

Arguments so far:
- Mike wants AS because RDF/XML hurts his eyes
- Jim doesn't want AS because (he says) it isn't part of the specs,
  and proposes N3 instead
- Jeremy points out the relationship with RDF, and says AS is not
  appropriate for RDF-only users
- @@forgot-who@@ points out that RDF/XML is the appropriate syntax for an
  engineering audience.

My $0.02:

- I find it very surprising that anybody believes that any single syntax will 
do for all purposes, and all audiences. So at least, in the WG documents, you 
should think who the intended audience of the document is, and what is most 
suited for them. Sure, RDF/XML is appropriate for some (e.g. a document for 
engineers about parsing OWL), but not for all. A good witness for that is the 
following:

- In his invited talk at ISWC'03, Tim listed a number of "Risks for the 
Semantic Web" [1], including: "RDF/XML syntax shock". I think this suggests 
that Mike is not alone, and that indeed RDF/XML is not the solution for all 
audiences, at least in the experience of Tim (and why else would he have done 
N3?)

- Of course, syntax is also a matter of taste, and indeed, N3 is already a 
whole lot better than RDF/XML, but we might as well use parts of the W3C 
spec's rather than non-spec notations. I find it strange that Jim argues 
against the Abstract Syntax on the grounds that it isn't part of the OWL 
specs (while it is, see [2]), and then argues in favour of N3, which has no 
formal status whatsoever.

Frank.
  ---

PS: it would be a great service to the community if anybody wrote an 
AS-to-RDF/XML convertor (Sean Bechhofer has already done the inverse (and 
much harder) direction, at [3])

[1] <http://www.w3.org/2003/Talks/1023-iswc-tbl/slide4-0.html>

[2] <http://www.w3.org/TR/owl-semantics/>
    the table of contents lists the Abstract Syntax (section 2) as "Normative"

[3] <http://phoebus.cs.man.ac.uk:9999/OWL/Validator>
Received on Monday, 5 April 2004 17:38:47 UTC

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