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review of XML in 10 points [was: AGENDA...]

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 06 Dec 2001 15:31:44 -0600
Message-ID: <3C0FE3C0.C24AB46E@w3.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>, janet@w3.org, bert@w3.org, em@w3.org, liam@w3.org
CC: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>, www-webont-wg@w3.org
Pat Hayes wrote:
> >As it has come up in the Semantic Web Coordination Group, it might be worth
> >spending a short while discussing point nine of XML in 10 points.  As you
> >might expect I have strong reservations about the claims therein concerning
> >RDF.
> Me too. We really ought to put a stern stop to this kind of thing, as
> publicly as possible; it is simply irresponsible to make claims like
> this. Who wrote this rubbish?

Hi Pat. Let's play nice, shall we?

You make several pointed comments, but none of them
is terribly constructive. Is there some text
that you would prefer to see there? Ah... I see
you did suggest "a language" in place of "the
language". In fact, that change has already
been made.

$Date: 2001/12/06 19:39:29 $

Keep in mind XML 2001 is next week, and several
folks from W3C might be able to carry any
words you'd suggest to that audience...

@prefix ed: <http://www.w3.org/2000/08/eb58#>.
@prefix dc: <http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/>.
Several Team members present at XML 2001 USA in Orlando, Florida: on
         11 December, Daniel Weitzner speaks on Patents and Web
Standards; on
         13 December, Chris Lilley gives a talk on Not Just SVG -
Integrated XML
         Graphics, Dean Jackson gives a talk titled SVG Mobile - SVG on
         resource-limited devices, and Henry S. Thompson speaks on
         Language Comparison; on 14 December, Henry Thompson presents
         Normal Form Conventions for XML Representations of Structured
         Philippe Le Hégaret presents an Update from the W3C DOM
Activity, and
         Hugo Haas presents an Update on the Work of the W3C XML

is ed:excerpt of [
  = <http://www.w3.org/News/2001#item202>;
  dc:title "Archive of W3C News in 2001";
  dc:date "Thu, 06 Dec 2001 09:58:18 GMT" ].

> >peter
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >Please review item #9 in the XML in 10 points:
> >[[
> >XML is the basis for RDF
> Wrong. XML is not the 'basis' for RDF. It provides one notation, but
> it is not either basic, or best, or most acceptable.

Well, it's the only one that's Recommended at this point.

If you look at XML as an agreement between a bunch of people
and a bunch of machines about how to do a certain amount
of parsing of expressions, is it really wrong to say
that it's the basis of RDF? In the Web/Net community,
bytes-on-the-wire, i.e. surface syntax, counts for a lot.

> >and the Semantic Web
> >
> >XML provides an unambiguous syntax for W3C's RDF, the language
> >A language, not the language


> >for
> >expressing metadata (in fact, for knowledge in general
> That is nonsensical, or at best seriously misleading.

yes; we're looking for replacement words. I've suggested
"a starting point for knowledge in general"

> >). RDF is like
> >hypertext elevated to the next level. Whereas hypertext links pieces
> >of text and leaves their relation vague, RDF can link anything and
> >everything
> Again, obvious nonsense.

Hm... now that I look at it again, I have to agree.

Hmm.. what words to use in stead?

> It confuses 'link' in some textual sense
> with 'refer to'. But to say that a language can refer to anything and
> everything is vacuous. Grafitti on a subway wall can refer to
> anything and everything.
> >and assigns names to the relations: 'A is the price of B'
> >can be a relation between an object and a sum of money; 'A is
> >heavier than B' can be the relation between two sumo wrestlers; 'A
> >is the cause of B' can be the relation between a shower and your
> >being wet. To communicate knowledge, whether in XML/RDF or in plain
> >English, both people and machines need to agree on what words to
> >use.
> That claim could be argued for, but it suggests a sad depth of
> incomprehension about the nature (and difficulties) of knowledge
> representation.
> >A precisely defined set of words to describe a certain area of
> >life (from 'shopping' to 'mathematical logic') is called an
> >'ontology.'
> Wrong, if the writer means 'words' in the sense I suspect he does.
> >  RDF, ontologies, and the representation of meaning so
> >that computers can help people do work are all topics of the
> >Semantic Web Activity.
> This somehow leaves a confused (and false) impression of something
> new and magical emerging from the semantic web activity, and an even
> more confused and false implication that it has anything much to do
> with XML.

Well, Pat, it's easy to tear down the work of others.

How about some constructive criticism now?

> Pat Hayes

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Thursday, 6 December 2001 16:31:58 UTC

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