2005-10-25

As simple as possible ...

Those days Planet RDF is buzzing with a bunch of interesting responses to Danny Ayers' provocative question about alternatives to the Semantic Web (if possible simpler than the original stuff). Getting rid of artificial complexity gathered around the basically so-simple RDF model is of course the main preoccupation, and of course, the lack of canonical serialization in XML is seen as a major obstacle to adoption. At SemEmergence, Seth Ladd is crying for it:
Please, W3C, create a standard RDF serialization that elevates RDF as a first class citizen of XML. Everyone else has a schema, why can't we?
Having passed (too much) time those days struggling with the yet-another-serialization syndrom in the latest versions of SWOOP and Protégé, I could not agree more. But waiting for such a (most unlikely) W3C delivery, alternatives solutions pop up and are worth looking at.
Phil Jones pushes the notion of SynWeb, which he defines as a web which doesn't need "key identifiers".
The difference is that the knowledge needed to give semantics to the data resides in the programs which do the combining, rather than in a schema which has been prepared earlier.
No absolute meaning of data, no absolute identifiers, semantics in the application context? Certainly close to our current ramblings on perspectives and aspects.

The simplest and most radical alternative to-date is certainly Phil Dawes' tagtriples, a simple text format for triple statements. Forget URIs, namespaces, XML and the like. Identification is local to a graph (an ordered collection of statements), as indicated in the Tagtriples Model and Semantics (don't run away, that is really as simple as can be).
All occurances [sic] of a particular symbol in a graph must denote the same meaning. [...] The same symbol used in different graphs may or may not denote the same meaning - it is up to the consumer of the information to interpret how the symbol/meanings correspond.