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   Re: [xml-dev] SemWeb again

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On Wed, 2002-04-24 at 17:01, Mike Champion wrote:
> 4/24/2002 12:33:29 PM, Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net> wrote:
> >Given these facts, I have recently tended to give the SemWeb the benefit
> >of the doubt. It is probably in the same state SGML was before XML. It
> >needs a simplification and some killer apps.
> Perhaps, but it has generated an awful lot of ill feeling for the W3C leadership, in my 
> humble and personal opinion garnered from many private conversations.  Whatever the 
> justification for that ill feeling, it is critical for SemWeb advocates to understand and 
> come to grips with it.
> I see three general threads in the critique of the semantic web initiative:

While I think your critique of the Semantic Web is quite reasonable, and
I consider myself generally hostile to both Web Services (WS) and the
Semantic Web, I think you've missed something important as you picked up
Dare's red herring.

In the past, I'd hoped that the SW and WS would just plain counteract
each and keep each other at bay.  I don't see that happening now that
each has its own activity.  That said, it's worth contrasting the two
activities in terms of their relevance to and impact on the Web.

The Semantic Web, for all its folly, isn't really a threat to Web
architecture per se.  While I think TimBL's insistence that we let him
return RDF in dereferencing namespace URIs is hideous and ugly, it's
hideous and ugly for reasons that have more to do with XML than anything
Web-like that came before.  The Semantic Web is basically about creating
frameworks that rest on top of the Web-as-we-know-it and reusing them.

Whether those frameworks make sense or not is a different matter.

Web Services is a very different matter architecturally.  It makes an
even greater mess of our limited understandings of URIs by putting
multiple potentially unknown possibilities behind a single URI,
conflates headers and messages constantly, and its creators appear to
have zero patience for any notion of the Web that might in fact
constrain whatever they feel like doing.

While the Semantic Web may be a waste of time, it's no threat to the
Web, and may in fact end up enhancing the more conventional Web.  While
Web Services may feel like today's hot and exciting thing, it feels to
me like pollution of the Web at a very fundamental level.  

Agent Orange did a very nice job defoliating trees - hey, it worked!  It
also had some nasty side effects.

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!


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