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   RDF was a bully (was Re: [xml-dev] RDF and the new releases)

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>>the solution is simple: don't use
> it. Don't use it. Don't study it, look at it, listen about it, work with
> sleep with it, or generally go out and dance late at night with it.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I would have been neutral about RDF if it
hadn't been forced on us in the context of RSS. From that point I saw it not
as technology, but a religious cause, certainly one that I wanted nothing to
do with. But it wasn't offered as a choice Shelley, it was rammed down our

Reading your last paragraph, it would have been good if the RDF advocates
had recognized the work that had gone into RSS before they tried to hijack
it. To this day they don't recognize it. Look at the design of RSS 1.0 and
how disrespectfully it treats 0.91, which to this day dwarves its installed

If RDF wants to be considered, it should make a thoughtful proposal -- not
be the bull in a china shop that it has been.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Shelley Powers" <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
To: <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 14, 2002 9:09 PM
Subject: [xml-dev] RDF and the new releases

> I've watched with interest the discussion about RDF within this list and
> over at the W3C Technical Architecture Group (seeded by this item from Tim
> Bray -- http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2002Nov/0034.html).
> puzzles and confuses me is why there is so much animosity towards RDF.
> If you don't understand it, and don't want to take the time to understand
> it, or don't feel it will buy you anything, or hate the acronym, or you're
> in a general bitchy mood that's easily triggered if someone uses
> in the same sentence that contains "Web", the solution is simple: don't
> it. Don't use it. Don't study it, look at it, listen about it, work with
> sleep with it, or generally go out and dance late at night with it.
> Yes, I am being frivolous -- about as frivolous as so much discussion
> how RDF is broken because it doesn't work for this one person or that
> specific purpose. Tip: there is no such thing as a technology that works
> all people, and all purposes. If there was, the person who invented it
> be richer than Bill Gates. (Is that possible? Can another person possibly
> richer than Bill Gates? Is there enough money in the world?)
> However, you may feel about RDF, the spec, or RDF/XML, the serialization,
> would hope that you all remember one thing: in the last few days, the RDF
> Working Group has released not one, not two, but six new working drafts.
> Six. That's a hell of a lot of work. And what's the response the group's
> seen in this group and TAG?
> Excuse me while I quote from TAG in addition to this group:
> "In other words, the XML syntax for RDF may be the target of our
> criticism but this article which shows clearly its limitations deserves
> our respect."
> "Sorry, I just don't see much interest in RDF."
> "Second, this is just further evidence that RDF/XML is broken."
> "1. The syntax of RDF/XML is sufficiently scrambled and arcane that it is
> neither human-writeable nor human-readable.
> 2. The RDF/XML syntax grossly, egregiously, horribly abuses qnames.
> 3. People who care about metadata have no trouble thinking in terms of
> resource/property/value triples
> 4. The notion that you can slip RDF into XML transparently enough that
> people think of it as XML and it works as RDF has failed resoundingly in
> the marketplace, cf RSS1.0."
> "I ran out of patience with RDF/XML and tried to think of a simple
> alternative"
> And I could go on if you wish, but I'm sure you've all either read this or
> are indifferent to the subject of RDF (in which case, why are you reading
> this note?)
> The RDF Working Group's efforts have been public and accessible from the
> beginning. They've always been open to comments and suggestions. There's
> just one but at least three mailing lists associated with the RDF efforts,
> and others associated with peripheral efforts (such as RSS 1.0). I've
> once not had any member of the working group not respond to one of my
> comments. Yet now, when they put out six documents -- six -- asking for
> feedback, all people can do is beat on their effort in what looks to me to
> be almost a knee jerk reaction.
> Is it fashionable to be _down_ on RDF? Sort of like the techie equivalent
> not wearing white after Labor Day unless you live in Australia?
> I'm not a newbie with RDF so when I say that I have no problems working
> it, and would never use straight XML in any of my applications because I
> find RDF to be easier to work with, you can take this with a grain of
> But in the last week I've used a Python, a Java, a Perl, and a PHP API for
> RDF (disclaimer --all associated with work I'm doing on a book on the
> subject of RDF), and the work is trivial because of these APIs and because
> of the shared proven meta-model that RDF represents, and RDF/XML helps
> serialize. Best of all, when I publish the RDF documents used in my
> applications (and there will be a lot of documents for at least one of
> them), anyone with an RDF API can access the same data without having to
> learn my own arcane way of doing things.
> And the reason I can do this so easily is there's a group of people who
> up a lot of their time and energy to work on six -- six -- documents for
> RDF specification. And they're joined by a lot of other people who gave up
> enormous amounts of their time and energy to develop tools and APIs to
> with these same specifications.
> I thought it might be nice for the RDF critics to be reminded of the
> personal work and effort that has gone into this specification, this RDF
> that generates so much passion. Perhaps you might spare a moment or to
> consider that you might, just might, not be able to do better at a
> strategy yourselves if given the opportunity.
> Just a thought.
> Shelley
> ---------------------------------------------------
> Shelley Powers             shelleyp@burningbird.net
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