Re: Rule of Least Power

>Pat Hayes writes:
>>  That indeed makes perfect sense. What I am now puzzled about,
>>  however, is that this isn't what the RuLePwr document seems to be
>>  saying. This example has to do with the extent to which information
>>  is accessible, even to processes that were not being considered when
>>  the information was being created: information buried in Javascript
>>  is less accessible than information in HTML. OK, good point; but the
>>  RuLePwr document talks about computing power in the
>>  theory-of-computing sense.
>Quoting from the finding [1]:
>"The intention of this finding is neither to rigorously characterize the
>many ways in which a programming language may exhibit power or complexity,
>nor to suggest that all such power necessarily interferes with information
>reuse. Rather, this finding observes that a variety of characteristics
>that make languages powerful can complicate or prevent analysis of
>programs or information conveyed in those languages, and it suggests that
>such risks be weighed seriously when publishing information on the Web.
>Indeed, on the Web, the least powerful language that's suitable should
>usually be chosen."
>I think that's the point, and I confess I'm confused about why so much
>discussion has arisen that seems to make the finding into more or less
>than that.

Than what? Im still puzzled by what "powerful" is supposed to mean, 
or what any sense of computing "power" has got to do with the 
question of how accessible information is. The document seems to be 
making a good point using the wrong language.

>  It doesn't, for example, say that power languages are bad. It
>sugests that the risks of using a powerful languge be weighed seriously.
>It doesn't say that there is only one aspect of power that is pertinent or
>that all aspects of power are necessarily problematic;  it clearly says
>the opposite.  It doesn't say use languages that aren't powerful;  it says
>"Use the least powerful language >suitable< for expressing information,
>constraints or programs on the World Wide Web."

I could reasonably interpret that as a recommendation to use RDF 
rather than OWL because RDF is less expressive. Im honestly unsure if 
this would be an intended meaning, however.

>   So, if what you need is a
>powerful language use it.  If you have a choice, consider the options
>carefully, and at least seriously consider the ways in which use of a
>powerful language >may< inhibit others' ability to reuse the information
>you're publishing.  That's about it, IMO.
>Anyway, it looks like I'll be on jury duty for at least awhile

You have my sincere condolences :-).

>, so please
>take no offense if I am unresponsive to further discussion on this thread.



>  Thank you.
>Noah Mendelsohn
>IBM Corporation
>One Rogers Street
>Cambridge, MA 02142

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Received on Thursday, 9 March 2006 04:52:18 UTC