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Well, I hope I won't be as flamed as Paul, but I have a few remarks too that
make me reluctant to use RDDL.
1) Scalability. With only a few arcroles (or purposes ?), a single RDDL
document is readable. What if the number of associated resource grows ? What
is the benefit for a human reader to have to download a 500K document to
have a description of ...
2) ... a description of what ? A namespace ? If RDDL describes a namespace,
then let's be careful when providing arcroles for DTD and schemas. The case
where one namespace = 1 DTD and 1 schema document for each schema language
that you want to support is, like Paul wrote, a dangerous degradation of the
namespace purpose. I don't have any authority on the subject (and I'm sure
you people won't miss the opportunity to prove it to me), but I firmly
believe that the interest of namespace resides in allowing tags from
different namespaces to be mixed in the same document without name
collisions. If I'm supposed to use RDDL to find the proper schemas or
stylesheets or whatever, where can I find a RDDL document for this XHTML
document that contains tags from the MathML namespace ? At the XHTML
namespace URL, or at the MathML namespace URL ? It's funny to notice that
the same problem exist for RDDL document themselves, since they mix the
(X)HTML, RDDL and XLink namespaces... The problem is that with
namespace-centric view of RDDL just prevents document types that can mix
tags from different namespace from having an associated RDDL document (if it
doesn't, show me the URL where I can find it), resulting in a big hole in
the practical usability of RDDL.
3) It is a bit related to the scalability issue, but how do you handle
internationalisation ? RDDL contains human-readable text, that's fine, but
not everybody can or want to read English. So will you have all possible
translation of the human-readable text in the SAME RDDL document ? If not,
where should the namespace URL point to ? The English version ? Why ? How
are you going to ensure consistency between various translations of the RDDL
documents, since XLinks to resources are embedded within the human readable
text ? If I have to add a new resource in the English version, do I really
have to scan the Japanese version, not understanding anything I read, until
I find the place where I suspect the resource XLink should go ?
If think that remark 2 is the biggest show-stopper for RDDL, whereas 1 and 3
would appear if RDDL gained momentum, that is to say, too late to change
The beginning of a solution could be to drop the 1 namespace URL = 1 RDDL
document containing a mix of ALL related resources embedded in HTML with
english text. Resource description is of great interested, but is should not
be treated so lightly as RDDL does.
The entry document found at the URL could purely XML with no english, the
human-readable documents being linked as resources, with different versions
for different languages residing in different resources. Yes, I know, this
would remove the great joy of seeing something nice immediatly appear in
your browser, but it's nothing an 'appropriate' stylesheet can solve.
This is beginning to look like RDF... But nobodys loves RDF, due to its W3C
origins, right ?