From: Ian Horrocks (
Date: 04/16/02

On April 15, Pat Hayes writes:
> >"David R. Karger" wrote:
> >>  None of the other names was any more natural to the man on the
> >>  street.  Since they are going to have to learn new vocabulary, we
> >>  might as well use the previously defined terms.
> >
> >I hope the man in the street never sees any raw OWL or DAML anymore
> >than he should have to look at HTML or postscript.
> Anyone who actually produces webpage markup had better be able to see 
> HTML, and even get reasonably proficient at recognizing what is wrong 
> with it, even if they use a highlevel tool such as Dreamweaver. In 
> fact I'd bet that much of the reason for HTMLs initial success was 
> that it is in fact fairly easy to learn how to use it (in at least a 
> basic way) even when viewed as source in a normal text editor. OWL 
> needs to be in the same ballpark if it is not to go the way of the 
> Dodo.
> I would add that until someone actually manages to produce one of 
> these often-spoken-of high-level authoring tools that will protect 
> the MITS from seeing DAML, it might be unwise to depend on it quite 
> so thoroughly.

As you may be aware, we have produced an editor for DAML+OIL called
OilEd (see This at least protects the user
from the rigors of RDF syntax, although it doesn't really protect them
from the language (you can still define a uniqueProperty, but you do
so by checking a box rather than typing in the RDF). 

An additional advantage of using a tool like OilEd is that it is easy
to change the key-words (or even more verbose descriptions) without
changing the underlying language. In fact, as OilEd is about to go
open source, you will soon be able to customise it with your own
favourite nomenclature :-).

Regards, Ian

> >The person who
> >might have to look at the OWL description generated by an application,
> >tool or syntactically sugared surface language will be (IMHO) someone
> >like a software engineer, a system administrator or a DBA.  They
> >probably won't be a person with an interest in KR, with advanced
> >degrees or who has ever worked in an R&D environment.
> >
> >I like Pat's notion of describing constraints on properties by
> >describing how they are used, but isn't this the domain of an
> >intuitive, high-level surface language (N3++?).  We still need to
> >decide on what this compiles into and how to express it.
> There should be no need to compile it into anything. If you design it 
> right, it could BE the KR language, with the model theory attached to 
> it directly.
> Pat
> -- 
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