[rdfweb-dev] RDF all the way on XML.com

Julian Bond julian_bond at voidstar.com
Fri Aug 22 16:22:56 UTC 2003

Jim Ley <jim at jibbering.com> wrote:
>It seems to me that you see a problem for a few tool developers in accessing
>FOAF content, and rather than solving the job within those tool developers,
>you're suggesting constraining the world.  I'd also appreciate it more if we
>could look at more concrete examples of what cannot be done with FOAF as
>RDF - there are already lots of discussion on what can't be done with FOAF
>as XML.

Point taken. I guess what I'm most interested in is applications that 
use code to generate FOAF. I'd like to encourage the authors of these 
apps to produce nicely formatted, nicely readable FOAF data. If there's 
a choice between an XML structure and the more obscure RDF structures, 
with no loss of validity or clarity, I'd encourage them to use the XML 
layout. And if there's a choice between a verbose, explicit form against 
a terse shortcut that implies data that's not actually stated, then 
choose the verbose form.

The long term danger here is that if there's a lot of XML parsable data 
out there, people will write code to read it that assumes an XML 
structure. At that point richer and/or more experimental RDF will be 
closed to them. This is already happening.

One way out of this dilemma is for a foaf-like standard to appear that 
is constrained to be XML hierarchical and which is a superset of 
foaf-RDF. An Atom or RSS 2.0 to FOAF's RSS 1.0.

Another way out is to continue to evangelise and educate the people who 
are thinking like this that actually RDF tools are good enough, and if 
you just read it as RDF, all the problems go away. And where the tools 
are flawed, to help the tool developers fix and extend them.

Having been very much in the same situation, I'm concerned that so many 
people come to all this and take so long to understand. If it's 
apparently so hard to understand, there's something wrong here.

Julian Bond Email&MSM: julian.bond at voidstar.com
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