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   Re: [xml-dev] Why RDF is hard

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Simon St.Laurent wrote:

> jonathan@openhealth.org (Jonathan Borden) writes:
> >but RDF gets hard fast. That's because the problems that RDF can be
> >used to solve might be very tricky problems. It's not that RDF
> >*itself* is so complicated, it's that its problem domain (e.g.
> >unstructured databases or "knowledge representation") is complicated.
> I don't think the problem is as simple as "what RDF does is hard."
> For me, the problem with RDF is the demands it places on me for keeping
> track of the structures described.  Invariably, when I look at
> information stored in RDF (or a Topic Map) in a graphical form, the
> connections make sense, the overall structure or lack thereof is very
> clear.  When I look at the same information in its raw RDF document
> form, I start to mutter about people who are too damn smart creating
> models which are suitable only for computers and people who can think
> like computers.

Sorry, I was refering to RDF itself, as opposed to RDF/XML. the much
maligned XML serialization syntax.
> I don't think the RDF community has ever really understood that what
> they do is genuinely difficult for most people.  The RDF community seems
> very self-selecting to me - those who can cope with RDF like it, and the
> rest of us keep our distance.  I'm not sure it's ever been clear to
> people who find RDF intuitive why so many people bounce off of it
> completely, and I'm not convinced that it's possible to explain that to
> someone who genuinely likes RDF.

Do you mean RDF/XML as a syntax is difficult, or what goes on after the
RDF/XML syntax is transformed into a set of triples being hard? I fully
agree that if the problem is that lack of a clearcut relationship between
syntax and triples, then by all means change the RDF/XML syntax. Indeed many
RDF folks have essentially abandonded RDF/XML itself for N3/N-triples.

> I guess we'll see if this message generates the usual "but you're wrong
> about RDF it's so simple and clear" messages that previous efforts to
> state the same thesis have garnered.

No, I'm just trying to be clear about which parts of RDF are simple, which
parts are genuinely hard, and which parts are just confusing.




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