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   Re: [xml-dev] Data vs. Process was Re: [xml-dev] Vocabulary Combination

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jonathan@openhealth.org (Jonathan Borden) writes:
>When I think about ontologies I hardly think about processing at all.
>How exactly do ontologies intrude into your choices about processing?

I see the meaning of markup as coming from the reader, whether that
reader is a human or a computer process.  Ontologies strike me as a
deliberate effort to enforce a particular set of meanings across
processing contexts, so in that sense they affect the possibilities I
had open in my processing.  

Beyond that, expectations that processing will be flexible enough to
handle changes in ontologies requires writing the processing in a very
different style, requiring my code to understand the ontologies rather
than just the markup.

It may be declarative, but its impact reaches to the core of the code.

>Admittedly, ontologies might be both constrictive and heavyweight,
>they are intended to be constrictive, and the additional constraints
>on what you can say, placed by the desire to enable inference engines
>to be both decidable and terminating, do indeed frequently make it
>cumbersome to express something which otherwise seems simple -- but I
>wonder if that is somewhat a function of the fact that writing good
>ontologies is an art which is fundamentally different from
>programming? As such, writing ontologies today must seem similar to
>that of programming in the early days of computers: akin to black
>magic. Like most magic, it just looks impossible from the outside, and
>becomes much easier when you understand the sleight of hand. Or of
>course there is the standard answer that we can let the tools do the
>hard work :-))

Thanks, but I don't need or want those burdens.  It's not black magic -
it's merely naive faith in the coherence of logical constructions built
in a certain way of supposedly atomic facts.  I don't trust the premise,
and I don't want the tools. 

Markup's premises are a lot smaller, far easier to comprehend, and
involve a lot less sleight of hand.

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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