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Re: Lack of a standard rules language Re: Toward easier RDF: a proposal

From: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2018 03:13:17 -0500
To: semantic-web@w3.org
Cc: Paul Tyson <phtyson@sbcglobal.net>
Message-ID: <4fd54ff7-1255-476f-be24-706e0dbfbb32@dbooth.org>
On 11/25/18 1:34 PM, Paul Tyson wrote:
> On Thu, 2018-11-22 at 14:47 +0000, Nathan Rixham wrote:
>> Yes, N3 immediately addresses multiple points from the opening thread.
>>
>> It's a great starting (and ending?) point, to this
> 
> The original defect report ("Lack of a standard rules language") is
> wrong. RIF has been in the SemWeb stack for a long time. 

But RIF is *not* a rules language, AFAIK.  It is a rules *interchange* 
format, to allow various different rules languages to be exchanged.  As 
the first sentence of the Introduction of the RIF Overview clearly states:
https://www.w3.org/TR/rif-overview/

   "The Rule Interchange Format (RIF) . . . [is] a standard
   for exchanging rules among rule systems, in particular
   among Web rule engines. RIF focused on exchange rather
   than trying to develop a single one-fits-all rule language
   because, in contrast to other Semantic Web standards, such
   as RDF, OWL, and SPARQL, it was immediately clear that a
   single language would not satisfy the needs of many popular
   paradigms for using rules in knowledge representation and
   business modeling."

Am I missing something?

> It has of
> course been largely ignored while practitioners invent special-case
> solutions.

Why has it been ignored?  It would be useful to learn.

> RIF is directly compatible with XML, RDF, and OWL, which means you have
> a lot of basic tooling to process it. It covers practically all rule
> styles anyone would want, and includes a standard extension mechanism.
> 
> My only complaint about RIF is that, due to timing of the working
> groups, it is not fully interoperable with SPARQL. Also for the same
> reason, there is some disconnect between RIF datatypes and built-ins,
> and the XSD datatypes and xpath functions. It's been quite a while since
> I worked in this area so I don't recall the details.
> 
> That should be the starting point on this topic: re-open a working group
> on RIF to make it capable of expressing SPARQL constructs, and resolve
> the datatype and built-in discrepancies with other W3C specs.

Suggestion noted.  But if you think RIF should fill this need then it 
would be wise also to understand why RIF has not had broader uptake already.

Thanks,
David Booth
Received on Monday, 26 November 2018 08:13:40 UTC

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