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Re: RDF/XML/Internet Collisons, Process (was Moving on)

From: Graham Klyne <GK@Dial.pipex.com>
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 20:23:34 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Cc: <xml-uri@w3.org>
At 04:04 PM 5/31/00 -0400, Simon St.Laurent wrote:
>It sounds very much like XML's situation, overall - I just don't see the
>same kind of enthusiasm for RDF in the outside world.  (I've tried to talk
>publishers into RDF books, and consistently get back "What?" So far, a
>chapter's all I've managed to get through.  Now I'm booked for the rest of
>2000, with no RDF in sight.)

Interesting ... I received an out-of-the-blue solicitation from a publisher 
recently -- I can't imagine why since I have no track record in writing 
books _or_ RDF...

>I don't think it's yet been made clear that XML (apart from RDF) gains
>anything but additional complexity from making Namespaces into 'first class
>objects'.  The only gains appear to be on the RDF side.
>I've suggested repeatedly that RDF would do better to 'bless' namespaces as
>URIs (and first class objects if you like) within RDF, rather than imposing
>such an obligation on XML processors.

Now here I feel I must disagree -- RDF, taken in isolation from XML, does 
not _need_ namespaces in any way that I can see.  URIs are sufficient.  It 
is the desire to use XML to _represent_ RDF that seems to create this 

OTOH, I am currently involved in reviewing a protocol design that uses XML, 
and find that I am advocating use of namespaces to provide a level of 
flexibility (evolvability) that is not provided by raw XML.  The key 
benefit of namespaces seems to be the capacity for "language mixing".

Maybe we're touching different parts of the elephant.  Coming at XML from 
its historical background of applying markup to textual documents, where 
the real information is in the text, then maybe namespaces don't offer so 
much.  But viewing XML as a primary mechanism to construct representations 
of information (including, but not limited to, RDF) then the namespace idea 
seems extremely powerful.


Graham Klyne
Received on Wednesday, 31 May 2000 16:35:00 UTC

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