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   RE: A certain difficulty

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  • From: Jeff Sussna <jeff.sussna@quokka.com>
  • To: "'Mark Birbeck'" <Mark.Birbeck@iedigital.net>, xml-dev@xml.org, www-rdf-interest@w3.org
  • Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 10:18:27 -0800

I agree that the point of a spec is rigor and completeness, and that it
shouldn't be expected to be a tutorial. However, I DO NOT agree that the
invention being specified shouldn't be expected to be accessible. Generally
speaking, a complicated design is a bad design. I believe the frustration
with RDF comes primarily from the casting of the model into XML syntax(es),
not from the writing of the spec. Furthermore, inventions are only useful to
the extent to which they are used. If an invention is brilliant but
incomprehensible, no one will use it. I worry sometimes that RDF will fall
prey to a similar history as Lisp and Smalltalk.


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Birbeck [mailto:Mark.Birbeck@iedigital.net]
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 2:21 AM
To: xml-dev@xml.org; www-rdf-interest@w3.org
Subject: RE: A certain difficulty

[ snip ] 

One last point, I must rehearse an old argument from the days of the
namespaces debate (remember that one?!) - that it is not the
responsibility of the spec writers to make their inventions accessible.
A spec must be rigorous and avoid ambiguity so that others can implement
their software in a way that they know will be compatible with others.
Contributions to the list on how obtuse the RDF and RDFS specs are, are
pointless (as are existential debates on whether, I, the reader, am
stupid, and philosophical debates on whether it is possible for a spec
to be stupid). What we need are good illustrations and articles and this
thing will turn round fast.

Best regards,


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