YARD: Yet another RDF diss

by Uche Ogbuji

Related link: http://www.itworld.com/nl/ebiz_ent/03182003/



Of course Sean is dead wrong as to the salient matter, but he's always a good read. RDF is for people who understand directed graphs. If you take any random audience, this is, of course, a small proportion. Same story for forensic histology, but I doubt Sean would moot for closing down all the crime labs. The argument that "not everyone can get RDF " is not worth any number of words. The more interesting point is that anyone who can't get RDF can't get relational databases or any other sort of formal information modeling, and they can't get code (both flow of control and declarative algeras are graphs more complex than RDF). For those outside this set, as Sean points out too obliquely, there are plenty of tools and they needn't deal with RDF directly.

7 Comments

anonymous2
2003-03-25 10:28:50
CSI: RDF
?;-)
anonymous2
2003-03-25 16:19:09
RDF vs. DSLs (Domain Specific Langages)
I believe in RDF. I believe in the Semantic Web and the value you pull from meta-models...


But sometimes I believe the simple solution is the best one and that, if it works, you can bootstrap or re-factor from there. Sometimes you need to optimise for "many-eyeballs" and play with your own vocabulary..


james@ramirez.co.uk

anonymous2
2003-03-26 01:34:19
directed graphs?
>RDF is for people who understand directed graphs
this statement makes no sense to me, a syntax is for someone who understands a graphical representation of that syntax?
uche
2003-03-26 05:02:43
directed graphs?
Your problem is that you don't understand what RDF is. RDF is not its XML serialization. It is a data model for which there are several repesentations available. It can be considered a syntax because it is, in effect, a set of formal conventions for the labels of arcs and nodes in a directed graph. However, even this is only part of the picture, as it is also a set of formalized semantics (a model theory) of the graph. The most important point, however, is that you seem to think that a graph is purely a "graphical representation". This is fundamentaly wrong. After all, an adjacency table is a perfectly valid instance of a graph.
uche
2003-03-26 05:05:34
RDF vs. DSLs (Domain Specific Langages)
I think you're dead on. Thanks.
anonymous2
2003-03-27 03:04:53
directed graphs?
I didn't mention RDF's XML serialization.
I understand it's a data model with several serializations etc. (although I do tend to use only the RDF/XML format mainly because that is the only one of real interest to me, perhaps this pre-occupation with one format clouds my opinions?) however as you say "It can be considered a syntax because it is, in effect, a set of formal conventions for the labels of arcs and nodes in a directed graph" and these formal conventions are represented in each serialization how? Syntactically.
The original article that you were commenting on seemed to me to be talking about pictorial representations of a graph, this is one of my main problems with life as a programmer. I hate pictorial representations. I hate boxes and arrows, itís a problem but I hide it in meetings. So the original article seemed to me to be describing how whenever an RDF symposium or whatever one calls it is held then suddenly all these pictorial representations appear on the screen, well these are the very things I hate.


I especially hate them because whenever you see a big labeled digraph itís really difficult to read the labels anyway, if one zooms in on any node it seems (for me at any rate) to be harder to follow this then if someone showed the syntax, whether as tuples or XML it would be a lot easier to keep the various parts in oneís head and follow the presentation especially when, as tends to happen in these presentations, one gets into the realm of reified statements; (subject,predicate,object) tuples are definitely clearer than the xml serialization but I would prefer to see the xml as this is what I tend to work with and concern myself with . The pictorial representation of such a digraph is just not as clear to me as the syntax.



If the original article was not complaining about pictorial representation then I apologize for misunderstanding it, I do of course tend to think of a graph as a purely pictorial representation of that graph, because this is what most people want and mean when they use the word.


Finally as an aside I find the usage of an RDF node as both a digraph node and label somewhat annoying.

anonymous2
2003-03-27 03:29:20
directed graphs?
Okay I went back and re-read the original article after posting this and I see I had interpreted the concerns expressed there in the light of my own pre-occupations with RDF in conference settings. Not an uncommon human failing I hear so I hope you will accept my apology, for some reason when he talks about hitting the RDF triples I was thinking about showing a bunch of (pictorial representations of) graphs; probably caused by my having been irritated by these things numerous times and then your mention of digraphs made me jump again to the subject.