W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org > November 2002

Re: comments on primer so far

From: Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Date: Tue, 05 Nov 2002 08:19:59 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>, Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Cc: RDF Core <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>

At 21:24 04/11/2002 -0500, Frank Manola wrote:
>Some comments on your comments (I'm not going to comment on all of 
>them,  just the ones where I either question the call, would like some 
>more input, or otherwise feel like wrangling about):
>Section 1:
>[[If you were to allow me one silver bullet, one stylistic change you made 
>just because I asked for it, it would be this one(he says not having read 
>the rest of the document yet.) The first time a reader sees RDF they 
>should see a graph, not RDF/XML. For me, it is very important to get the 
>reader thinking about graphs, not XML, right from the get go.]] (Brian's 
>comments are deliminted by [[ ]]  )
>I understand your point.  The problem is that we've just got through 
>talking about how useful RDF is for expressing information so it can be 
>exchanged between applications, and so on.  While the model/abstract 
>syntax is a graph, the only way the graph can be exchanged between 
>applications is to write them down, and the normative syntax for doing 
>that is RDF/XML.  I really do understand that the graph is the 
>"essence"  of RDF;  but it seems to me that at this point (where we say 
>we're going to be "concrete"), we want to show folks how they're actually 
>going to be writing stuff down.

In general, I won't argue about sytlistic changes.  They are suggestions to 
the editor, no more.  This is the exception, because I do think its important.

My concern is that folks coming to RDF who are familiar with XML, and I 
have seen this happen too often, approach it with an "XML mindset".  Dan 
and I are arguing that we shouldn't be teach xml in this doc and should 
assume folks are already familiar with it, i.e. these folks are our 
intended audience.

I believe it is absolute vital, to tell them right from the start what the 
conceptual model is, otherwise they think its just same old xml and we will 
lose to many of them.

I take your point about not writing exchanging information between 
applications.  I think we could write our way out of that one.  We could 
change the preceding text, and for me, it be worth the effort, but then its 
your effort.  Or we could just delete this bit.  I know Dan is keen on 
having it so early on, but this is my opinion. However, I don't think we 
have to go that far.  We can write our way round it.

To make the discussion concrete as soon as possible, let's look at some 
RDF.  The best way to think about RDF is as a graph.

   picture here.

This is a description of a person ...

The graph is the conceptual model for RDF.  Now lets look at he write it 
down as XML.



>[[This section on URI's seems like a big barrier to the reader early on. 
>I'd expect a primer to introduce stuff more gradually. In style, this is 
>beginning to feel more like a text book than a primer]]


>[["Bedford" is not the city, its the name of the city. Similarly for 
>state. Suggest rename properties to cityName, and stateName. Not sure what 
>to rename street to.]]
>I'm commenting on this because it's listed as an "error".  If I gave a URI 
>for the city instead of the literal "Bedford", that wouldn't be the city 
>either, that's another name for the city.  Would you have me say 
>"cityName" then too?  "cityURI"?  I understand the distinction you're 
>making, but I really am trying to indicate the city;  the only way I can 
>do that is by using a name.

I'm suggesting changing the property name to indicate the sort of thing the 
object is, not the sort of thing the name of the object is.  We are in the 
domain here, not the syntax.

>[[Thinking about it, do we really need to keep giving triples 
>representations for everything. Won't the picture of the graph suffice?]]


>"and RDF would not see anything wrong with this." [[No, strongly disagree. 
>We are talking about what an RDF procesor would do here, and an RDF 
>processor that is datatype aware would barf. We need to describe the 
>different behaviour to expect between software that understands the 
>datatype and software that does not.]]
>What I was talking about was what was visible to *RDF*, and *RDF* knows 
>nothing about any datatypes, as far as I know.

I think that will mislead the reader.  I thought you were talking about an 
rdf processor.  This is a primer; its about teaching folks how to do stuff 
right?  We need to keep it accurate regarding the formal stuff, but we also 
need to keep in mind the readers mindset.

Received on Tuesday, 5 November 2002 03:17:44 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 20:24:18 UTC