A comment on DAML FAQ

From: pat hayes (phayes@ai.uwf.edu)
Date: 05/30/01

Q:       Do I need a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence to use DAML?
        No. The designers of DAML are seeking to merge experience 
gained from their collective work in Knowledge
        Representation and other AI fields, the World Wide Web, 
software development, and military and commercial
        applications to provide a language and tools that balance 
usability and power.

That answer is a bit of a cop-out. The fact is that DAML in its 
present form is *not* easy to learn or to follow. Many of its 
constructs are fairly abstruse (I'm thinking in particular of the 
min/maxCardinalityQ). The restriction/onProperty/toClass way of 
talking is not given by God to all right-thinking people, but is an 
idiosyncratic perspective limited to those familiar with the, er, 
classical class languages. It still makes my head hurt. So I think 
the honest answer might be more like "No, but it sure would help, and 
you had better know a bit about object-oriented class-inheritance 

But more seriously, surely the first FAQ should be something like 
"what use is DAML to me?" or "What should I use DAML for?" or some 
such. The FAQ right now doesnt seem to actually say what DAML really 
is in any sharp sense. For example, we might point out that the 
'class/property' way of talking has been widely used in Krep and is 
closely linked to things like data modelling languages, just to kind 
of locate this whole enterprise in some kind of intellectual space.

Before asking why not use XML, something should explain the 
relationships of DAML to RDF(S) and XML.


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