W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > November 1999

Simpler syntax for RDF

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 18:12:47 -0500
Message-ID: <027f01bf3088$1edf9d40$84001d12@politburo.w3.org>
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
The Cambridge [communique] meeting had a consensus that a simpler syntax for
RDF. At the time I mentioned that I had done some thinking about it. The
results are at


Comments welcome.

The basic idea is that XML elements represent RDF properties: there is
no "striping" as in the standard RDF syntax, in which alternate layers in
the nesting
represent node types and arc types.  In the "unstriped" syntax,
node types (if used) can be made explicit by an arc, or can be deduced from
the domain and range of properties.

I have found that many applications seem to look (to me!!) much more
obvious in this syntax.

The document is not totally baked (say where it doesn't make sense)
but I think the next step should be code.
I would love to be able to find time to do it myself, but help is of course

Things which I was considering were

- an XSLT transform from unstriped to striped syntax (and/or back).
- a modified RDF parser in your favorite language which accepts either
current or unstriped syntax.

The page does not have examples - but the syntax is used in some
pages such as http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Toolbox.html

Tim Berners-Lee
no hat
Received on Tuesday, 16 November 1999 18:13:15 UTC

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