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   Re: [xml-dev] RDF for unstructured databases, RDF for axiomatic systems

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shelleyp@burningbird.net (Shelley Powers) writes:
>I think, in many ways, that's what many of the objectors have against 
>RDF/XML -- you have to have some pre-knowledge of RDF in order to 
>read it, write it, work with it, and truly understand it.

I think there are two serious questions any time people move from a
"just XML" perspective to the "new, improved RDF" perspective.

The first is learning the RDF model.  While the core of that model is
pretty simple (I think Jonathan Borden has said it takes only one
slide), figuring out how RDF really works is more complicated.  Anyone
who has doubts about the intrinsic crunchy goodness of URIs is liable to
have an aneurysm during any serious encounter with RDF.  The Concept and
Abstract Syntax document is pretty good for what it does, but the RDF
model still requires a rather different level of modeling than does XML
document markup - a level I see as unnecessarily complicating in the
vast majority of cases where markup is being used.

(I vastly prefer patterns embedded directly in documents to patterns you
have to assemble in your head outside of the document by linking chains
of abstract identifiers.)

The second issue is what I see as a more or less permanent mismatch
between RDF's graph model and XML's hierarchical model, which produces
some serious syntactic complications.  Jonathan Borden has done very
well recently with his revised RDDL/RDF, but I think he's mostly
achieved it by hiding the RDF impact on the XML syntax to the maximum
extent possible.  (It's very reassuring to see that this is possible,

>So then the question becomes: Is the issue really about the existing 
>RDF/XML? Or is it about the complexity of the RDF model? I think we 
>need to be very sure about this before we run off into alternative 
>syntax tangents.

For me, it's definitely about both.  I can read the RDF model, but have
no interest at all in using it to model anything more complicated than
about a FOAF file.  For the modeling I need to do, the XML BB gun is
much more appropriate than the RDF Gatling Gun, and far less likely to
cause collateral damage.

The existing RDF/XML looks ridiculous to me, and I find its odd bouncing
off qualified/unqualified attributes to be a warning sign for the XML
namespaces specs, but I think a lot of that has to do with basic
incompatibilities between the models.

Simon St.Laurent - SSL is my TLA
http://simonstl.com may be my URI
http://monasticxml.org may be my ascetic URI
urn:oid: is another possibility altogether


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