W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > February 2000

RE: A certain difficulty

From: Bill dehOra <Wdehora@cromwellmedia.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 14:13:30 -0000
Message-ID: <AA4C152BA2F9D211B9DD0008C79F760A5CA46F@odin.cromwellmedia.co.uk>
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org

:As it happens I think RDF is nowhere near as difficult as people think.

RDF *language* certainly isn't that difficult. But the *modelling* that is
required to use RDF is, and I think that is the problem these engineers are

This issue applies also to XML schema and DTD design. You can't just knock
off a schema system, set of standard DTD's, or RDF and expect it to be any
good at the scale of a business enterprise, anymore than you can knock off a
database model at the same level. You need clever specialised people to do

:And it is incredibly significant. I don't think it's an exaggeration to
:say that RDF and RDFS will become *the* most important XML technologies
:as we try to build a web of information - not presentation. In fact if
:you re-read all the hype and 'promises' of XML, you'll find that XML on
:it's own cannot actually implement them - RDF can.

And what of certain *very* hard problems with regard to a computer's ability
to handle meaning? RDF does not guarantee shared semantics between computers
any more than speech acts, frame theories or distributed systems have in the
past. RDF is for machines not people. 

:A comment was made about RDF breaking the rules of XML in relation to
:URIs - because RDF is obsessed with resources. That is what makes it so
:powerful! XML can help you with relationships between nodes that are
:under your control, and XLink can be used for nodes under someone
:else's. But RDF lets you make statements about other people's
:*resources*, and someone else can make statements about yours.

I don't dispute the power of RDF at all for certain tasks. I do dispute the
need for the w3c to invent it all in the first place, other far more
powerful formal systems and logics could have adapted for the job. But
that's neither here nor there. RDF doesn't seem to offer much  by the way of
verification of these statements, I guess we'll have lots of semantic 404's
in the future.

:With RDF *the web has no centre*. With XML the web is set of 
:- albeit starting from your point of view, or my point of view, or
:someone else's.

The web is already a graph, it's the documents that are treelike. I don't
see how RDF changes the topology of the web.

Received on Wednesday, 23 February 2000 09:14:05 UTC

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