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   Re: A certain difficulty

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  • From: Rick JELLIFFE <ricko@allette.com.au>
  • To: xml-dev@xml.org
  • Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 13:41:38 +0800

Dan Brickley wrote:

>  The concerns centre around how closely RDF is
> associated with one particular RDF interchange syntax, namely the
> XML-based format described alongside the RDF model in the Model and Syntax
> Recommendation. RDFists have generally anticipated multiple syntaxes, or
> (equivalently?) software architectures that extract RDF data structures
> from a wide variety of concrete representations. Nobody is considering a
> rewrite of the model, but there is widespread concern that the current
> syntax is sub-optimal, and holding back progress with RDF
> generally.

The problems with RDF syntax were pointed out before the PR came out.

I think the RDF people have treated XML as a serialization syntax, where
    RDF application
        -> XML (standard, serialization)
            -> RDF appplication

Hence, a flat format that doesnt fit in with much else.

Instead, a more useful model for getting  a critical mass of RDF applications
would have been:
    existing non-RDF application
        -> XML
            -> RDF application
                -> XML
                    -> non-RDF application

This model would have lead to an attribute-based syntax (e.g. using ISO
"attribute forms") to allow RDF annotations on any existing syntax.

The other problem with RDF as currently specified include:

    * The  "Formal Grammar" productions are not complete.  The allowed
attributes rdf:value is not specified anywhere: actually, it is mentioned in
the RDF Schema spec, but that only give a references to s.2.3 in the RDF spec
which just points to an example.

    * The RDF spec seems to treat attributes and elements interchangeably:
sometimes we get rdf:type attribute, sometimes we get rdf:type element. The
pupported "complete BNF for RDF" only gives the attribute form.

This slackness comes from not using a DTDs or any other schema framework which
would have allowed their formal specs to have been tested by a generic tool.

RDF should be an "architecture" not a "framework".  RDF should have a DTD

Rick  Jelliffe

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