Re: (Part 1) Where did these syntax constraints come from?

From: Dan Connolly (
Date: 01/09/01

pat hayes wrote:
> >Peter,
> >
> >one (among many) answers:
> >RDF is basically known in the database community as semi-structured data and
> >used for database and schema integration tasks.
> Thanks for the tutorial, Stefan.
> >It basically boils down to that every datamodel can be represented as a graph.
> Almost any expression of almost any formal langauge, and quite a lot
> of unformalised languages, can be represented as a graph. Graph-based
> notations for full first-order logic have been around for over a
> century now.  The first notations ever devised for logic were
> graph-based notations. So this observation isnt really much of an
> argument for RDF as such.

OK... so let's take it as an argument for something in the
design-space near RDF. Now... shall we go over that
design space again, in this group? I'd rather not, but
I can see value in doing it...

> Clarity and precision in translation are typically the end product of
> having a precise semantic specification, which RDF seems to be
> singularly lacking in.  (I know this is a controversial statement,
> but I would observe that members of the very committee that produced
> RDF and whose names are listed as authors on the source documentation
> apparently disagree with one another about the semantics of RDF and
> RDFS, and no precise semantics was ever published, and apparently
> still hasnt been to this day.)

I used to think of RDF as a pretty precise spec. But the more I learn,
the more I have to agree: the RDF spec is lacking in precision.
Meanwhile, a bunch of web-heads have been struggling to learn it.
They've picked up a few clues along the way. Hopefully, a few
more clues than they picked up by learning about just XML.

So... shall we engage those folks, while trying to fix the
bugs in the RDF spec? Or just divest from RDF and start over?

I can see both sides, but, in case it's not obvious, I'm
interested in using this DAML+OIL work to
preserve and enhance W3C's investment in RDF.

Dan Connolly, W3C

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