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   Re: RE: [xml-dev] XML/RDF

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On Mon, 2002-11-04 at 20:22, Mike Champion wrote:

> So, I would really like to understand what benefit one might 
> really get from using an RDF-friendly XML syntax.  Eric van der
> Vlist (perhaps offlist) once mentioned that XML.fr uses the RDFness
> of RSS 1.0 to categorize articles via an RDF taxonomy/ontology.

Hey! That's competitive advantage, why should I share this :-) !

> I'm not hostile to RDF (for localized domains in which effective
> taxonomies exist, anyway, don't get me started about the "Semantic Web"),
> just skeptical that it's worth a significant investment of my time.
> Does anyone want to try to persuade us skeptics that RDF's time
> has come?

My take on this doesn't go that far and I think that RDF is already a
valuable format and paradigm for storing and retrieving information
without thinking of the Semantic Web!

Simon was mentioning RDF as being a straigtjacket and I think that it's
true for some cases (it's really a pity that RDF doesn't handle mixed
content for instance) but that the other models are straitjackets
compared to RDF as soon as you've loaded your RDF in a RDF database and
selected a RDF query language.

RDBMS with their tables are straitjackets: tables are not natural at all
and in the real world, different rows don't have the same number of

XML and it's tree model is a straitjacket too to model the external
world since we know at least since Copernic that there isn't a single
root in the universe...

RDF and its triples is really lightweight when you have the right tools
to manipulate them. I like to think of them as a RDBMS whith a variable
geometry: each "row" (ie each subject) can have a variable number of
columns (properties). It's like a RDBMS which you could populate before
having writen any schema, that's really very flexible and it's just a
matter of using the right tool. When I use such a tool, I have a feeling
of RDBMS without its straitjacket :-) ...

Now, why would you want to take the pain of making a XML vocabulary RDF

My answer (probably heretic for a RDF purist) is to keep the possibility
to use such a tool in the future if your application grows and needs it.

Of course it's a matter of tradeoff and if the pain is higher than the
expected benefit, go for plain XML: you'll always be able to develop a
XSLT tranformation later on.


Curious about Relax NG? My book in progress is waiting for your review!
Eric van der Vlist       http://xmlfr.org            http://dyomedea.com
(W3C) XML Schema ISBN:0-596-00252-1 http://oreilly.com/catalog/xmlschema


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