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   Re: [xml-dev] XML/RDF

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11/10/2002 3:19:57 PM, Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net> wrote:

>> I'm sorry if I come across as overly hostile about RDF/ontoloties/etc.
>> I just have a bad reaction to scenarios such as the one at the beginning
>> of the Scientific American Article that both the SW and
>> the Web Services advocates seem to love.  
>And yet you're criticizing the Semantic Web and chairing the Web 
>Services Architecture Group. ;)

I try to maintain an attitude of humble skepticism about the 
complexities of the problems that both face.  See, for example,
the last paragraph of 
Seriously, and speaking of that post, it's intriguing to me 
how so many people (independently, AFAIK)
latched onto the basic idea of combining XML and HTTP to move serialized
objects around and/or do RPC calls.  As we probably agree, the basic
XML-RPC paradigm is one of those things that "evolves" easily out of
the component parts, but is probably an evolutionary dead-end because
RPC doesn't scale and HTTP wasn't built for it anyway.  Still, for 
an ultimately doomed idea, it has a lot of reality behind it -- 
lots of mission-critical stuff behind firewalls and lots of non
mission-critical stuff (e.g. weblog updates) using it daily.  
The semantic web seems much the opposite: an idea that COULD work
and MAY work someday (perhaps when they "boil the ocean" and persuade
lots of people to take metadata and ontologies seriously), but 
doesn't seem to have nearly as much success in the wild today.  

>Fair enough. But don't you think that as a technologist you have the 
>ability and responsibility to evaluate the technology separate from the 

Ability?  I hope so.  Responsibility?  Perhaps, but I long ago adopted
a heuristic that I would invest time in evaluating technologies that seemed
to be solving real problems that I had or that I saw others having.
URLs/HTTP/HTML solved a *lot* of problems for me
(like what to do with my time and money!) when I came upon them in
1994 or so. I saw SGML *really work* for real people with hard problems that Word,
TeX, etc. choked on when I started work for Arbortext in 1996.
A bit later saw XML as the part of SGML that people actually used and that I could
actually understand. 

There's some Semantic Web stuff I find very intriguing, e.g. applying
WebOnt to SNOMED, or the Canegie-Mellon stuff on scheduling
(http://www.sys-con.com/xml/article.cfm?id=529).  Then again, they're
applying RDF to well-understood, localized domains.
Sortof like SOAP-RPC -- a reasonable solution
to a limited domain problems, but my hackles go up go up when
people start talking about it as the Next Big Thing.  I guess it really
*is* the hype that bothers me ... and there's something about hype
that just gets under my skin and makes me want to debunk it rather
than doing something more productive with my time ...


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