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Re: language modularity, with semantics

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 19:23:14 -0400
Message-Id: <200307212323.h6LNNEE2006736@roke.hawke.org>
To: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
cc: www-tag@w3.org


> Why should the web architecture care about application 
> language semantics?   I'm on record as saying that 
> the W3C shouldn't either.  It's a nice job for orgs 
> such as OASIS, Web3DC, etc., but given the range of 
> rot involved with indemnity issues, patent rights, 
> and so on, it is a bad place for the W3C to tie up 
> assets.

IMHO the W3C should provide a system by which application languages
can be usefully combined in ways which were not specifically planned
for by the designers of the languages.  I think this is a feature many
XML enthusiasts erroneously think it has.  (Or maybe it does if you
lower the bar on "usefully" low enough.)  I'm pretty sure most RDF
users think RDF has this property -- but a few experts (like Pat
Hayes) seem to be claiming otherwise, so I want to straighten that
out.

This is of course different from providing application languages.  I
think the W3C has this problem already just within the infrastructure
with HTML+(stuff).  of course, that user community isn't about to
switch to RDF/XML, but I think if we get the semantics figured out
well enough, some of the techniques may work for them too.   (I have
some experimental code to parse HTML as into RDF triples with a
hypertext ontology, but it's rough/early work.)

> The application semantics modularity model is a 
> problem of the object models, not XML or namespaces 
> any more than they are a problem of URIs.  We 
> can't treat interoperation by the same means as 
> we join relational tables.  It's nonsense.  Try 
> putting an SVG handler inside an X3D texture. 
> Doable?  Yes.  Meaningful? Depends.  Good engineering? 
> Undetermined: the performance of the objects is 
> doubtful but that is something for experimentation.

Whether such a combination is meaningful should be a formal question,
and it should not depend on either language committee knowing about
the other, although in practice there will need to be some kind of
sufficient ontological path between them.   Whether it will turn out
to have adequite performance, I agree, is a subject for research (and
will of course depend on many non-architectural features).

   -- sandro
Received on Monday, 21 July 2003 19:23:22 UTC

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