Taking an axe RDF in XML? (no thank you)

At 01:47 AM 5/23/02 +0100, Bill de hÓra wrote:
>2) There's something out of kilter when a wg has to invent a new
>syntax to skip around the existing XML one, because the wg has
>difficulty using the XML, yet taking a broad-axe to it is deemed
>"out of scope". The existence of N3 the traffic on this list, and I
>think two (?) simplified XML syntaxes should have set the alarms
>bells off long ago. The wg, and the syntax subgroup in particular,
>has done /remarkable/ work to get the current syntax wd to the
>state it's in under the circumstances.


I think there's an implicit assumption in your message that the existing 
XML serialization of RDF is not suitable for its purpose.  I used to think 
that too.  But I've since come to the view that it really is quite clever, 
because it provides a migration path from "reasonable" XML to RDF:  it is 
possible to define XML application formats that happen to be 
RDF-compatible.  (e.g. my proposal for RFC822 in XML [1].)  I think the 
general idea is illustrated well by Dan Brickleys RDF "striping" document [2].

I'm not saying it's perfect, just a lot better than it's sometimes given 
credit for.  It's biggest problem (IMO) was it's original documentation 
(which is easy for me to say in hindsight...)

If there's a problem, I think it's that we're failing to capitalize on this 
migration path to RDF.

>4) Wrt to deployment, RDF's costs are frontloaded. We think it's
>going useful, some day, because we have a notion that information
>in RDF form is highly repurposable and easy to merge
>(serializations notwithstanding). I haven't seen much by way of
>acknowledgement that RDF is a pension plan for your information,
>and surely it wouldn’t hurt any to get this message across some

I agree strongly with almost everything you say here.  Except that 
intelligent use of the XML serialization means that the front-loaded costs 
can be practically zero as an increment on using XML.  Design your XML 
application format to be RDF compatible.  Later, when the tools are widely 
available to handle this as pure RDF data, a return on almost no investment 
can be realized.



[2] http://www.w3.org/2001/10/stripes/

Graham Klyne

Received on Thursday, 23 May 2002 04:44:51 UTC