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   Re: [xml-dev] ANN: White Paper - "Using OWL to Avoid SyntacticRig or Mo

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uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com (Uche Ogbuji) writes:
>> * I can safely process documents I receive as XML without having to
>> create RDF graph structures.
>I think I understand this.  Some people insist on imposing RDF
>structures on regular XML documents, such that you have to process
>them using RDF models in order to do anything useful with them.

Yep, that'd be it.

>I agree this is a problem and a very bad one.  The reason I support
>RSS 1.0 is that even though it insists on RDF/XML, which I dislike
>probably as much as you do, its authors actually did make an effort to
>design it so that it you could ignore the RDF bits and just extract
>what you want using, say, simple XPaths.

The designers of RSS 1.0 did a very nice job as far as keeping it
processable by XML tools.  I think the same can probably be said of the
results produced by people who read this article (though it goes the
other direction):


That doesn't mean I enjoy the RDF noise, but more about that later.

>In general, I think that systems that push RDF-think into XML are
>B.A.D. (Tim Bray meaning, again).

I'm hoping that's broken-as-designed, in which case I'm happy to agree.

>> * I'm not required to add information I regard as noise (URIs,
>> various RDF-namespaced bits, etc.) to my own documents.
>I think this is where we'd disagree over, say RSS 1.0.  I see such as
>syntactic inconveniences (well, except for namespaces which are a
>semantic inconvenience for any given definition of "semantic" :-) ).
>But this is a natural area where folks will disagree.  I'm glad we've 
>clarified this.

Yep.  I can tolerate some degree of this, though RSS 1.0 is as far as
I'm willing to go, and even that pushes me a little too far for comfort.

>> Unfortunately, I see no guarantee of such things, and indeed, the
>> opposite.  Liam Quin's supposed simplification of XML at Extreme last
>> year proposed RDF noise as a good thing,
>Well, you know there's no chance in hell of that becoming the true
>future shape of XML any more than YAML, so I wouldn't worry too much
>about this one.

I hope you're right.

>> while Roger's proposal (and
>> lots of similar proposals) encourage heavy reliance on RDF graphs to
>> determine meaning.
>But by my understanding, he is proposing an out-of-band usage, so that
>if you prefer not to use this, you can just use the XML as is.  I'm
>not seeing where the ontology is required for basic XML processing.
>Maybe I misread Roger's proposal?

Or maybe I read it more critically than you did.  It really sounds to me
like the proposal makes processing depend on the ontology, in ways that
sound a bit like architectural forms run through a RDF mediator.

>> Directed graphs and hierarchical containment are only barely 
>> compatible on the best of days.
>I disagree strongly here.  First of all, there are any number of
>algorithms for inetrechange between the two.  

Those algorithms are capable of expressing one form in the other, but it
hardly optimizes for readability in the other media.  To leap to a
different field, imagine getting only TV and radio transcripts in your
paper rather than stories written for the paper.

>Secondly, even XML supports directed graphs (ID/IDREF).

This has come under a fair amount of fire lately, and I think quite

>A tree is mathematically nothing but a degenerate form of a directed
>graph (and more specifically a directed acyclic graph).  And don't
>trip, "degenerate" is purely a mathematical usage :-)

Sure.  But a lot of us are much happier with the degenerate form, and
have no fondness for the directed graphs.  Perhaps that makes us
undirected hedonists, but as I just renewed monasticxml.com, I should
probably pursue a different line of rhetoric.

>> I wish I didn't have to explain that quite so often.  I guess I have
>> to conclude that there are certainly problems out there where the
>> incompatibilities aren't so obvious, and that people who work in
>> those fields don't recognize them.
>Maybe I need to understand more clearly what you mean by 

You've already listed plenty of them.  I think the basic problem is that
what you regard as an inconvenience, I regard as a culture clash between
two sets of structures that don't get along well.  I'd have thought
RDF/XML would be a simple open and shut case for what a lousy mixture
these things produce, but apparently RDF users adapt to that mire over
time, or simply avoid looking at it directly.

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com -- http://monasticxml.org


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