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

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danny666@virgilio.it (Danny Ayers) writes:
>I first stumbled on RDF when I was working on some site indexing
>stuff, and was looking for a good way of cataloguing pages. I was
>looking for a nice web-friendly approach (i.e. XML). RDF looked ideal.
>When I dug a bit deeper into the site's requirements, only a handful
>of categories were required, and given that I already had a relational
>DB for related material on the same server, I just made a few tables.
>I would do the same again today. Does that mean I think in RDBMS?

It might.  I can think in RDBMS, but a lot of people find there's a hell
of a learning curve to doing so.  I've found the learning curves for XML
and RDBMS systems acceptable, while I've bounced completely off the
curve for RDF.

(A lot of people bounced off the curve for RDBMS as well.  It's not
something that humans automatically grok.)

>>Those of us who think in XML have plenty of reason to be cautious
>>about the good intentions of our RDF friends, I fear.
>What exactly is it that you fear?

I fear that the geniuses who worship URIs will continue to inflict that
gigantic underspecified disaster on all of us every time they can. (They
have, repeatedly.)

I fear that people who can connect piles of graphs in their head will
expect the rest of us to do the same thing.

I fear that the same people who brought us QNames will continue to
insist that they're part of this nutritious breakfast and a key
connection between XML, RDF, and the universe.

I fear this:

If that's a simplification, then I am a dandelion.

>I don't know much about the political situation is at the W3C, 

It's hysterically something.  Whether that something is good, funny,
sad, or indifferent depends on your perspective.  I tend to alternate
between funny and sad, but the HTML WG and a rare few others
occasionally make me think it might be good.

>but the only reason RDF has got this far is that it generally attempts
>to work with existing specs. There may be strange amplification
>effects from the interactions, and perhaps some less-than-optimal
>ideas get promoted more than they might otherwise have done. But those
>ideas have to work in the first place, and IMHO the net effect is a
>positive one. As it happens, I think a lot of the material in the RDF
>documents could be seen as being as much descriptive of the (web)
>environment in which it was designed as prescriptive of any new way of
>doing things.

I guess I must come from a different Web.

>I don't think that RDF is a danger to people that use XML any more
>than string is to someone that uses rubberbands. If you've got a lot
>of different parcels to wrap, you're better off having the choice.

Where I come from, the postal service quite clearly prefers tape.  Keep
your rubber bands away from my tape, and things will be all right.

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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