RE: What is RDF?

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From: Dan Brickley (
Date: Tue Aug 22 2000 - 02:48:05 PDT

On Tue, 22 Aug 2000, Gavin Thomas Nicol wrote:
> I understand RDF (having both hypermedia and AI in my past), but it
> *is* a bit hard for most people to grok the value of. I think
> namespaces are similar.
> The interesting thing about both is that there are alternatives,
> that, for many applications, are simpler, and more appropriate.

That's the problem. Each application taken on its own could hack up a
simpler alternative, but we're then left scratching our heads as to how
each of these alledgedly indepedent apps fits in with their
not-so-dissimilar neighbours. Where do site summaries stop and WAP/WML
or Web Accessibility summaries start? How do weblog and syndication
formats relate to Web ratings and annotation systems? Or Dublin Core?
Or XLinks. When do I use a profile of HTML versus invent a new language
(WML, XMLNews, DanNews, whatever...). On the Web, whereit's a
fundamental that everything is connected to everything, we've a duty
when working in overlapping domains to think about how our application
plays well with other in the same space. RDF piggybacks off the Web's
one unifying principle (URI names for everything) and tries not to add
much else besides. Sure you could probably do each individual
application in a simpler format (comma separate text files anyone?) but
you pay the price when it comes around to hooking all these different
apps together. Which is what the Web is all about...


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