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At 7:14 PM -0800 11/17/02, Tim Bray wrote:
>Shelley Powers wrote:
>>I think you're all focusing on the syntax when the issue really is the
>In fact, what I and others are claiming is that the syntax is
>getting in the way of peoples' learning and liking the model. You
>are on the record, repeatedly, that you disagree; so be it. I think
>history is against you (cf the WWW).
>>If we were to create an example RDF document using Tim's quickly
>>put together demonstration (note that Tim only put RPV together in an
>>evening and only meant it as a demonstration, see
>>http://weblog.burningbird.net/fires/000661.htm#comment3032) XML and the
>>existing RDF/XML and bring in a naive user, the person would have just
>>as much problem with Tim's syntax as he or she would with RDF/XML.
>I disagree entirely. The design goal of RPV is precisely that a
>human who knows qualitatively that RDF is a model based on
>resource/property/value triples, and knows very little more, can
>look at RPV and figure out what's going on and start either
>hand-authoring it or (more likely) generating it with a perl script
>or PHP or ASB or whatever their favorite tool is, and have a very
>high chance of getting it right first time. Without having to read
>any *any* W3C recommmendations. How can that not be important?
Tim, I think then you need to provide test cases for your syntax. In
fact, can you translate the RDF/XML test cases into your syntax? They
do represent instantiations of model constructs, represented in
RDF/XML. This means they should be able to map equally well over to
Question: Why generate it with a script? I thought your thing was
human readability and writing?
>Anyhow, as noted, you disagree with this, in which case RPV is a
>pointless distraction from the Real Work of convincing people to put
>up with the ugliness of RDF/XML syntax because it's Good For Them.
>Who konws, it might work eventually; but I think it would be easier
>if the syntax was easier.
I'll take working over pretty, but if you can prove your syntax
handles all aspects of the RDF model, I'd be content. I might not use
it myself, but would be willing to point people to it as a working,
>BTW I went back and looked at RPV again and I'm pretty sure that I
>could use it to do all the RDF work I've ever done. I think you'd
>probably need one more element <RPV> to group your assertions and to
>serve as the root if you wanted to have an all-RPV resource. Ouch -
>just increased the element-type headcount by 50%.
How do you handle a RDF stripe? node-arc-node-arc? Do you create a
property that's a resource and then define the resource elsewhere? Or
do you nest it? Also, how do you handle containers? These aren't
RDF/XML constructs -- these are RDF model constructs. They would need
to map to your syntax. I'm not sure how to do this, unambiguously
from your document.
Again, the test cases would be a good place to start, and then let's
grab some real world RDF/XML and try it.
>So the challenge remains. There is existence proof of a syntax
>which is XML, which unambiguously encodes resource/property/value
>triples, and which anyone can easily read. Are you *really* sure
>the Semantic Web doesn't need something like this to help get off
>the ground? Really? -Tim
If you can prove that the syntax meets the needs of the model, and if
people can read what's happening without recourse to the model, cool.
As I said, I think the next step is to take some actual RDF/XML and
try it out in your syntax.
For instance, I'll take my Post Content application RDF/XML
vocabulary and see if I can translate it into your syntax. However,
first I do need answers to the two questions I posed in this note --
how do you handle a stripe (nested arc-node-arc-node), and how do you
handle a collection?
Also, have you submitted it to the RDF working group? I would think
that they would listen to you. If it tests out and works, I would
think that they would see about including it in the spec with this
release. I've always found them to be quite responsive, and I
wouldn't have the clout you would. In fact, I can't help thinking
that if this quiets most of the critics, they'd be quite happy to
And as a general note: Do I think RDF and RDF/XML are perfect? Nope.
No such thing as perfect, anywhere. I've seen people raise some very
good arguments, and give some very good specifics about what needs
improvement. But, as I have also stated, I would rather see the RDF
spec released for work now, and in parallel, start a new effort for a
simplified syntax that maps to the old complicated syntax, then scrap
it all and start over from the beginning. Because if we start over, I
guarantee we'll only be right back here where we're at in 3 years.