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   Re: [xml-dev] Meta-somethingorother (was the semantic web mega-permathre

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On Sat, Jun 12, 2004 at 07:42:58AM -0400, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
> At 12:53 PM -0400 6/11/04, Mark Baker wrote:
> >So the value add of RDF/XML over vanilla XML is the same as the value
> >add of having a standardized database schema over the alternative of
> >not having one.
> I'd call that a value-subtract. If that really is all there is to 
> RDF, then RDF is fundamentally, absolutely broken and actively 
> harmful. I cannot imagine working with a single database schema for 
> all my needs, much less all of everyone else's. If that's really what 
> RDF is shooting for, then I have to conclude that RDF is evil and 
> should be actively opposed.

Well, try imagining it, please.  I would have thought the same thing
five years ago, but after working with it extensively, I now can't
imagine working with application-specific schemas.

You also seem to have not considered the value; that a software agent
authored to interact with such a database can do so with any database
with that schema.  So, one programmed to look for descriptions of,
say, people, can do so in any database on the planet.  The alternative,
without the standardized schema, is that such an agent would need to
be upgraded to understand any application-specific schema which
described a person.

> But just maybe, that's not really what 
> RDF's trying to do, and it's not so evil. :-)

Nope, that's pretty much what it's trying to do, and it's anything but
evil.  But note that the database comparison is just an analogy; it's
not suggesting that your database actually have such a schema, only
that the application present a network abstraction which makes it look
like it does.

Mark Baker.   Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.        http://www.markbaker.ca


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