Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RSS: Introducing Myself

Expand Messages
  • Dan Libby
    Hi. My name is Dan Libby. Disclaimer 1 : My apologies if this sounds pompous, or you disagree with my recommendations. Feel free to take it with a grain of
    Message 1 of 11 , Aug 24, 2000
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi. My name is Dan Libby.

      Disclaimer 1 : My apologies if this sounds pompous, or you disagree with my recommendations.  Feel free to take it with a grain of salt.
      Disclaimer 2: I speak only for myself, and not for my employer(s) - past or present.

      I was the primary author of the RSS 0.9 and 0.91 spec and the architect behind the My Netscape Network (a separate project from My Netscape, which I also worked on).  I left Netscape in 1999, in part because of what I felt was mis-handling (non-handling?) of RSS and the MN platform.  I fully expected the format to die an ignominious death, and I was pleasantly surprised to recently to poke my head out of the sand and find so many people still using it.  I am glad that the net community has begun adopting RSS, and would like to see it realize the original vision. So I have been watching the recent discussions with interest.  It is my hope that some background will at least make my original intent and reasoning clear and perhaps even help us avoid a fork, though perhaps that is inevitable?

      The original My Netscape Network Vision:

      We would create a platform and an RDF vocabulary for syndicating metadata about websites and aggregating them on My Netscape and ultimately in the web browser.  Because we only retrieved metadata, the website authors would still receive user's click-throughs to view the full site, thus benefitting both the aggregator and the publisher.  My Netscape would run an RDF database that stored all the content. Preferences akin to mail filters, would allow the user to filter only the data in which they are interested onto the page, from the entire pool of data.  For example, a user interested in articles about "Football" would be able to setup a personalized channel that simply consisted of a filter for Football, or even for a particular team or player.  Or for all references to Slashdot.org, or whatever.  This fit our personalization scheme well, and would (I hoped) give us the largest selection of content, with the greatest degree of personalization available.  Tools would be made available to simplify the process of creating these files, and to validate them, and life would be good. 

      What Actually Happened:

      1) A decision was made that for the first implementation, we did not actually need a "real" RDF database, which did not even really exist at the time.  Instead we could put the data in our existing store, and instead display data, one "channel" at a time.  This made publishers happier anyway, because they would get their own window and logo.  We could always do the "full" implementation later.

      2) The original RDF/RSS spec was deemed "too complex" for the "average user".  The RDF data model itself is complex to the uninitiated, and thus the placement of certain XML elements representing arc types seemed redundant and arbitrary to some.  Support for XML namespaces was basically non-existent.  My (poor) solution was to create a simpler format, RSS 0.9, that was technically valid RDF, but dropped namespaces and created a non-connected graph.  We decided that it could always be "transformed" into a graph for the to-be-built RDF database, but this imposed a 1 channel per file limitation.  People were willing to live with it.  (note: The "inChannel" tag in RSS 1.0 proposal solves this problem neatly). This marked the beginning of the Full Functionality vs Keep It Simple Stupid debate that continues to this day.  It is interesting to note that the _original_ spec I wrote is actually much closer to RSS 1.0 than to either 0.9 or 0.91.  At the time, I insisted that we publish it, if only to make the RDF crowd happy, and we ironically called it the Futures Document.

      3) We shipped the first implementation, sans tools.  Basically, there was a spec for RSS 0.9, some samples, and a web-based validation tool.  No further support was given for a while, and I was kept busy working on other projects.  Even still, channels started coming in, and the system worked in a rudimentary fashion.

      4) At some point, it was decided that we needed to rev the RSS spec to allow things like per item descriptions, i18n support, ratings, and image widths and height.  Due to artificial (in my view) time constraints, it was again decided to continue with the current storage solution, and I realized that we were *never* going to get around to the rest of the project as originally conceived.  At the time, the primary users of RSS (Dave Winer the most vocal among them) were asking why it needed to be so complex and why it didn't have support for various features, eg update frequencies.  We really had no good answer, given that we weren't using RDF for any useful purpose.  Further, because RDF can be expressed in XML in multiple ways, I was uncomfortable publishing a DTD for RSS 0.9, since the DTD would claim that technically valid RDF/RSS data conforming to the RDF graph model was not valid RSS.  Anyway, it didn't feel "clean".  The compromise was to produce RSS 0.91, which could be validated with any validating XML parser, and which incorporated much of userland's vocabulary, thus removing most (I think) of Dave's major objections.  I felt slightly bad about this, but given actual usage at the time, I felt it better suited the needs of its users: simplicity, correctness, and a larger vocabulary, without RDF baggage.  (I also had a really fun time writing a vocab independent XML validation system in python, which it turns out is pretty similar to XML-Schema.)

      5) We shipped the thing in a very short time, meeting the time constraints, then spent a month or two fixing it all.  :-)  It was apparently not deemed "strategic", and thus was never given more than maintenance attention.

      6) People on the net began creating all sorts of tools on their own, and publishing how-to articles, and all sorts of things, and using it in ways not envisioned by, err, some.  And now we are here, debating it all over again.  Fortunately, this time it is in an open forum.

      My Perspective On "The Right Thing":

      1) I agree with Dave and others that ease/simplicity of USE is very important.  I think the success of RSS 0.9* has been because it was so simple.  Anyone who knew HTML could do it, which was good, because they had to do it by hand.

      2) Simplicity and ease of use do not require a simple format.  Microsoft Word is pretty simple to use, but try reading the binary representation of a saved file sometime.  Or even their new XML representation.  The important thing is that the end-user tools be simple.  This means pre-built scripts for script-writers and field-by-field hand-holding entry for those who would otherwise hand-code, and a validator for both.

      3) Flexibility and extensibility are necessities and supercede even the need for simplicity.  Without them, the format will assuredly split and will be used in ways never intended.  With them, it is safe to add your own random data type, and the receiver is free to interpret or ignore as it sees fit.  As long as everyone agrees on the core, RSS remains a useful mechanism.  For this reason, I would suggest that dublin core be added to the core spec, in the way that RSS 0.91 has been (as a core 'module').  This was originally intended anyway, as evidenced by the "futures" document.

      4) Validation is extremely important -- important enough to be listed apart from "tools".  Someone publishing a document *must* be able to validate that the document is correct before sending it, particularly when setting up an automated system.  Validation further helps prevent the format from splitting, particularly in areas where the spec may be unclear.  For XML, validation requires minimally a DTD, and optimally XML-Schema and/or further application level processing.  For RDF, validation requires an RDF-Schema aware processor (I believe).

      5)  Given the above points, I (for the most part) support the RSS 1.0 spec, as written.  I believe it has a high degree of flexibility while maintaining a relatively simple core set.  However, to be *practical*, we must first create the tools for 1) validation, 2) processing, and 3) generation, pretty much in that order.  With proper validation tools, people can begin writing processors and generators, or even producing files by hand.  Without them, it is like shooting in the dark.

      5a) Another note on this, and a caveat -- given that the RSS 1.0 spec utilizes RDF, I believe that the tools and format itself should be RDF aware _from the start_.  A solid foundation is key to building anything that is going to last. This means that it is the *data model* that is important, not the physical syntax of "start with channel, then several items, etc".  In fact, I believe the spec itself should be an RDF Schema depicting the data model, with simple examples of how to express it in XML.  Anything less results in confusion and a mish-mash of incompatible tools, where some are simple XML processors and some are full RDF-aware processors.  I see this as the largest hurdle for RSS as RDF, given the comparative lack of RDF tools to XML tools.  If we are not willing to commit to this in the spec and tools, then we may as well go back to a plain XML format.  In other words, put up or shut up.

      6) Is RDF Necessary?  Well, no.  Not for plain syndication anyway.  That's why I got rid of it in 0.91.  But it is pretty cool.  Now, after a year of working with it on a day to day basis, I have a fairly good understanding of what it is and is not good at.  It is good at expressing a data model and allowing one to refer to arbitrary things without duplicating data, something the XML tree structure is weak at.  SInce RSS has "Summary" as its third word (regardless of version), that seems like a pretty good match.  I think that basing the format in RDF will add value as more and more people are using it and are able to refer to things in databases all over the web without physically re-bundling the data.  In other words, the value at the beginning will be small or non-existent, but will grow non-linearly over time.

      7) I think that the original vision mentioned above is still do-able, particularly given the existence of guha's RDFDB and similar tools, and that someone could build a very kickass personalization/filtering and syndication system that way. (Of course, given proper transformations and a suitable backend, you could regardless of the format.)

      That's my $.02.  My congrats and thanks to the authors and champions of the RSS 1.0 spec and all of you who have given RSS renewed life after Netscape all but abandoned it, and to Rael Dornfest for making me take notice.

      -danda

    • Aaron Swartz
      Beware, excessive use of smileys ahead. :-) ... Oy, another Dan! Hmm, Dan s and XML seem just like Eric s and open source. Is there some sort of secret Dan
      Message 2 of 11 , Aug 24, 2000
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        Beware, excessive use of smileys ahead. :-)

        Dan Libby <dan@...> wrote:

        > Hi. My name is Dan Libby.

        Oy, another Dan! Hmm, Dan's and XML seem just like Eric's and open source.
        Is there some sort of secret Dan conspiracy? :-)

        http://tuxedo.org/~esr/ecsl/

        > Disclaimer 2: I speak only for myself, and not for my employer(s) - past or
        > present.

        Yes, all those RDF people who are hiding out at Epinions -- another
        conspiracy? :-)

        > I fully expected the format to die an ignominious death, and I was pleasantly
        > surprised to recently to poke my head out of the sand and find so many people
        > still using it.

        Yes, RDF -- the format that just won't die. :-)

        > Preferences akin to mail filters, would allow the user
        > to filter only the data in which they are interested onto the page, from the
        > entire pool of data.

        This seemed an obvious use of RDF to me, and I was surprised that no one was
        doing it. That's why I created my.info:

        http://my.theinfo.org/

        It doesn't do all of that yet, and I've put it off to the side for now, but
        I hope to someday realize that vision.

        > 2) Simplicity and ease of use do not require a simple format....The important
        > thing is that the end-user tools be simple.

        A very good point. One that we (RSS-DEV) need to take note of.

        > I would suggest that dublin core be added to the core spec, in the way
        > that RSS 0.91 has been (as a core 'module').

        Umm, RSS 0.91 isn't a core module any more than DC is. They both are
        proposed modules, which are often used in RSS. I think the modules that are
        defined in the spec are those that were specifically created for RSS use --
        that's why DC isn't listed. However, it is a good idea to at least have a
        pointer to the DC spec, and perhaps a document describing proper usage in
        RDF. Rael?

        > 4) Validation is extremely important -- important enough to be listed apart
        > from "tools".

        Agreed. Is anyone working on this?

        > 5a) Another note on this, and a caveat -- given that the RSS 1.0 spec utilizes
        > RDF, I believe that the tools and format itself should be RDF aware _from the
        > start_. [...] Anything less results in confusion and
        > a mish-mash of incompatible tools, where some are simple XML processors and
        > some are full RDF-aware processors.

        This is where we are now, and I believe it is fully accepted by the group.
        Why is this a problem? The spec is defined as an XML format, but one that
        uses RDF notation to express RDF data. So it must follow the rules of both
        formats (which is rather annoying at times).

        > 7) I think that the original vision mentioned above is still do-able,
        > particularly given the existence of guha's RDFDB and similar tools, and that
        > someone could build a very kickass personalization/filtering and syndication
        > system that way. (Of course, given proper transformations and a suitable
        > backend, you could regardless of the format.)

        Agreed. I use a RDBMS for my.info, but I'm looking into RDFdb for future
        use. It's an area full of potential.

        > That's my $.02. My congrats and thanks to the authors and champions of the
        > RSS 1.0 spec and all of you who have given RSS renewed life after Netscape all
        > but abandoned it, and to Rael Dornfest for making me take notice.

        Many thanks to you for creating this whole mess. :-) Hope you can stick
        around for a bit, and join the party.

        Good to hear from you,

        --
        Aaron Swartz |"This information is top security.
        <http://swartzfam.com/aaron/>| When you have read it, destroy yourself."
        <http://www.theinfo.org/> | - Marshall McLuhan
      • dan@libby.com
        ... source. ... umm... no. ... no comment. ... page, from the ... one was ... Very cool. I wish you success. I ve also been playing with XMLRPC of
        Message 3 of 11 , Aug 24, 2000
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In rss-dev@egroups.com, Aaron Swartz <aswartz@s...> wrote:
          > Oy, another Dan! Hmm, Dan's and XML seem just like Eric's and open
          source.
          > Is there some sort of secret Dan conspiracy? :-)

          umm... no. <wink>

          > Yes, all those RDF people who are hiding out at Epinions -- another
          > conspiracy? :-)

          no comment.

          > > Preferences akin to mail filters, would allow the user
          > > to filter only the data in which they are interested onto the
          page, from the
          > > entire pool of data.
          >
          > This seemed an obvious use of RDF to me, and I was surprised that no
          one was
          > doing it. That's why I created my.info:
          >
          > http://my.theinfo.org/

          Very cool. I wish you success. I've also been playing with XMLRPC of
          late. (saw mention on your page)

          > > I would suggest that dublin core be added to the core spec, in the
          way
          > > that RSS 0.91 has been (as a core 'module').
          >
          > Umm, RSS 0.91 isn't a core module any more than DC is. They both are
          > proposed modules, which are often used in RSS. I think the modules
          that are
          > defined in the spec are those that were specifically created for RSS
          use --
          > that's why DC isn't listed. However, it is a good idea to at least
          have a
          > pointer to the DC spec, and perhaps a document describing proper
          usage in
          > RDF. Rael?

          I was referring to the following statement in the spec:

          The only module that ships "in the box" with RSS 1.0 is the RSS091
          module for sideways compatibility with RSS 0.91.
          Refer to RSS 1.0 Modules for module creation guidelines and registered
          core RSS 1.0 modules.

          I interpreted "in the box" to mean that it was part of the "core" that
          all RSS1.0 aggregators should understand. Is there such a concept? I
          am also confused by the phrase "registered core RSS 1.0 modules".

          Regardless, I would hope that DC be included "in the box" or "core"
          and that someone publishing RSS with DC can _expect_ it to be
          understood.

          > > 5a) Another note on this, and a caveat -- given that the RSS 1.0
          spec utilizes
          > > RDF, I believe that the tools and format itself should be RDF
          aware _from the
          > > start_. [...] Anything less results in confusion and
          > > a mish-mash of incompatible tools, where some are simple XML
          processors and
          > > some are full RDF-aware processors.
          >
          > This is where we are now, and I believe it is fully accepted by the
          group.
          > Why is this a problem? The spec is defined as an XML format, but one
          that
          > uses RDF notation to express RDF data. So it must follow the rules
          of both
          > formats (which is rather annoying at times).

          I don't like it precisely because it is annoying and because it
          creates more confusion over what RDF is and why the spec is the way it
          is. To me, RDF is the data model. Imposing a specific syntax makes
          people think it is a certain structure, and then they try to memorize
          the structure or syntax instead of figuring it out, and then don't
          understand why it doesn't work. I went through this process for a
          while myself. However, if you explain things in terms of triples and
          relationships up-front, the light clicks on,and it becomes easy to see
          how and why things are. This is true even for non-technical people.
          I think it is a must for the spec to show the graph, and to contain an
          official schema. I have been bitten in the past by non-schema'd data
          one too many times. Yes, it is a pain, but converting between N
          non-conforming variations with non-standard extensions is a bigger
          one.

          > Agreed. I use a RDBMS for my.info, but I'm looking into RDFdb for
          future
          > use. It's an area full of potential.

          Either way, you need to build a fast search index, however if your
          aggregated data is small enough to fit in memory it is pretty simple.

          > Many thanks to you for creating this whole mess. :-) Hope you can
          stick
          > around for a bit, and join the party.

          oh! Is there a party? :)

          -danda
        • Aaron Swartz
          ... Many thanks -- I was hoping to broaden it to more than just RSS, and use XMLRPC to receive update notifications, so my spider would waste less time. It s a
          Message 4 of 11 , Aug 24, 2000
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            dan@... <dan@...> wrote:

            > Very cool. I wish you success. I've also been playing with XMLRPC of
            > late. (saw mention on your page)

            Many thanks -- I was hoping to broaden it to more than just RSS, and use
            XMLRPC to receive update notifications, so my spider would waste less time.
            It's a very interesting field.

            > I interpreted "in the box" to mean that it was part of the "core" that
            > all RSS1.0 aggregators should understand.

            Ahh, I see. This is probably true. Would one of the authors like to comment?
            I overlooked that statement. Hmmm, what does it mean?

            > Is there such a concept? I
            > am also confused by the phrase "registered core RSS 1.0 modules".

            Rael has set up a system for modules to go through a proposal/acceptance
            stage. See:

            http://www.egroups.com/message/rss-dev/53

            > Regardless, I would hope that DC be included "in the box" or "core"
            > and that someone publishing RSS with DC can _expect_ it to be
            > understood.

            I think that may be asking to much. I think the only things that are "in the
            box" are those that were in previous versions of the spec. The rest is
            optional.

            > oh! Is there a party? :)

            Oh yes! You're bringing the drinks, right? (non-alcoholic, of course :-))

            --
            Aaron Swartz |"This information is top security.
            <http://swartzfam.com/aaron/>| When you have read it, destroy yourself."
            <http://www.theinfo.org/> | - Marshall McLuhan
          • Dan Libby
            ... of ... use ... less time. ... Aside: I m actually writing an XMLRPC implementation in C, that I intend to release on sourceforge soon. It should be hands
            Message 5 of 11 , Aug 24, 2000
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              --- In rss-dev@egroups.com, Aaron Swartz <aswartz@s...> wrote:
              > dan@l... <dan@l...> wrote:
              >
              > > Very cool. I wish you success. I've also been playing with XMLRPC
              of
              > > late. (saw mention on your page)
              >
              > Many thanks -- I was hoping to broaden it to more than just RSS, and
              use
              > XMLRPC to receive update notifications, so my spider would waste
              less time.
              > It's a very interesting field.

              Aside: I'm actually writing an XMLRPC implementation in C, that I
              intend to release on sourceforge soon. It should be hands down the
              fastest one out there, and hopefully will soon support some cool stuff
              like method introspection, and (ahem) an alternate more bandwidth
              efficient vocab for internal usage. Plus, I have a PHP native
              extension in the works which uses it.

              > > Regardless, I would hope that DC be included "in the box" or
              "core"
              > > and that someone publishing RSS with DC can _expect_ it to be
              > > understood.
              >
              > I think that may be asking to much. I think the only things that are
              "in the
              > box" are those that were in previous versions of the spec. The rest
              is
              > optional.

              Does the oldest, non-published spec count? I might have it in the
              archives somewhere..... :p But seriously, DC just seems like a
              really good idea (tm) to me, and even in 0.9 we purposefully named
              compatible elements the same, eg: title, description, language,
              publisher. In a sense, I view RSS as DC+.

              Anyone less lazy than I feel like polishing it up and uploading to the
              proposals directory?

              -danda
            • Aaron Swartz
              ... Oops, shows me. I see that Rael already has this up in the proposals directory. I m not doing too well this week.
              Message 6 of 11 , Aug 24, 2000
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                Dan Libby <dan@...> wrote:

                > Anyone less lazy than I feel like polishing it up and uploading to the
                > proposals directory?

                Oops, shows me. I see that Rael already has this up in the proposals
                directory. I'm not doing too well this week.

                http://www.egroups.com/files/rss-dev/Modules/Proposed/mod_dc.html

                --
                Aaron Swartz |"This information is top security.
                <http://swartzfam.com/aaron/>| When you have read it, destroy yourself."
                <http://www.theinfo.org/> | - Marshall McLuhan
              • Rael Dornfest
                Hi, Just a reminder to folks that there are already 8 proposed modules: * aggregation * annotation * commentary * content * dc (dublin core) * 091 (RSS 091
                Message 7 of 11 , Aug 24, 2000
                View Source
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi,

                  Just a reminder to folks that there are already 8 proposed modules:

                  * aggregation
                  * annotation
                  * commentary
                  * content
                  * dc (dublin core)
                  * 091 (RSS 091 elements)
                  * syndication
                  * taxonomy

                  I encourage those interested in the particular areas covered by these
                  modules to start taking a gander and working on these together. Be sure
                  to indicate which module you're talking about via something like

                  (Module: Taxonomy) subject

                  in your email subject line.

                  Rael

                  On Thu, 24 Aug 2000, Aaron Swartz wrote:

                  > Dan Libby <dan@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > Anyone less lazy than I feel like polishing it up and uploading to the
                  > > proposals directory?
                  >
                  > Oops, shows me. I see that Rael already has this up in the proposals
                  > directory. I'm not doing too well this week.
                  >
                  > http://www.egroups.com/files/rss-dev/Modules/Proposed/mod_dc.html

                  Freshly updated and piping hot from the Rael's ModuleBake oven :-p

                  Rael

                  ------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Rael Dornfest rael@...
                  Maven, http://www.oreillynet.com/~rael
                  The O'Reilly Network http://meerkat.oreillynet.com
                  ------------------------------------------------------------------
                • Dan Brickley
                  Hi Dan, ... Cool! Being both a Dublin Coreist and an RSS enthusiast, I ve long hoped to see RSS and DC play well together. I d be more than happy to polish up
                  Message 8 of 11 , Aug 25, 2000
                  View Source
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Hi Dan,

                    On Fri, 25 Aug 2000, Dan Libby wrote:

                    > Does the oldest, non-published spec count? I might have it in the
                    > archives somewhere..... :p But seriously, DC just seems like a
                    > really good idea (tm) to me, and even in 0.9 we purposefully named
                    > compatible elements the same, eg: title, description, language,
                    > publisher. In a sense, I view RSS as DC+.
                    >
                    > Anyone less lazy than I feel like polishing it up and uploading to the
                    > proposals directory?
                    >
                    > -danda

                    Cool! Being both a Dublin Coreist and an RSS enthusiast, I've long hoped
                    to see RSS and DC play well together. I'd be more than happy to polish up
                    whatever you have an plonk it online somewhere.

                    Dan
                  • Miller,Eric
                    ... Agreed! I too would be happy to help polish up this original spec. I d even suggest the Dublin core site as an additional place to publish this. From the
                    Message 9 of 11 , Aug 25, 2000
                    View Source
                    • 0 Attachment
                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: Dan Brickley [mailto:daniel.brickley@...]
                      > Sent: Friday, August 25, 2000 5:16 AM
                      > To: rss-dev@egroups.com
                      > Subject: Re: [RSS-DEV] Re: RSS: Introducing Myself
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi Dan,
                      >
                      > On Fri, 25 Aug 2000, Dan Libby wrote:
                      >
                      > > Does the oldest, non-published spec count? I might have it in the
                      > > archives somewhere..... :p But seriously, DC just seems like a
                      > > really good idea (tm) to me, and even in 0.9 we purposefully named
                      > > compatible elements the same, eg: title, description, language,
                      > > publisher. In a sense, I view RSS as DC+.
                      > >
                      > > Anyone less lazy than I feel like polishing it up and
                      > uploading to the
                      > > proposals directory?
                      > >
                      > > -danda
                      >
                      > Cool! Being both a Dublin Coreist and an RSS enthusiast, I've
                      > long hoped
                      > to see RSS and DC play well together. I'd be more than happy
                      > to polish up
                      > whatever you have an plonk it online somewhere.
                      >
                      > Dan
                      >

                      Agreed! I too would be happy to help polish up this original spec. I'd
                      even suggest the Dublin core site as an additional place to publish this.
                      From the earliest readings of the RSS specifications (both the original and
                      then later the 1.0), it was exactly the kind of exemplar applications the DC
                      (and later the RDF) community had been discussing. Extending and refining a
                      cross-domain vocabulary set for an effective use in a particular application
                      domain.

                      danda writes...
                      > "In a sense, I view RSS as DC+".

                      exactly!

                      --eric

                      --
                      Eric Miller http://purl.oclc.org/net/eric
                      Senior Research Scientist mailto:emiller@...
                      Research and Special Projects phone:614.764.6109
                      OCLC Online Computer Library Center fax:614.764.2344
                    • Ian Graham
                      ... Hmmm -- A Conspiracy of Dan s -- sounds like a book title. ... This is one of the reasons I am not using RDF in drafting up an outline for a syndication
                      Message 10 of 11 , Aug 27, 2000
                      View Source
                      • 0 Attachment
                        On Fri, 25 Aug 2000 dan@... wrote:

                        > --- In rss-dev@egroups.com, Aaron Swartz <aswartz@s...> wrote:
                        > > Oy, another Dan! Hmm, Dan's and XML seem just like Eric's and open
                        > source.

                        Hmmm -- "A Conspiracy of Dan's" -- sounds like a book title.

                        > ....
                        >
                        > I don't like it precisely because it is annoying and because it
                        > creates more confusion over what RDF is and why the spec is the way it
                        > is. To me, RDF is the data model. Imposing a specific syntax makes
                        > people think it is a certain structure, and then they try to memorize
                        > the structure or syntax instead of figuring it out, and then don't
                        > understand why it doesn't work. I went through this process for a
                        > while myself. However, if you explain things in terms of triples and
                        > relationships up-front, the light clicks on,and it becomes easy to see
                        > how and why things are. This is true even for non-technical people.
                        > I think it is a must for the spec to show the graph, and to contain an
                        > official schema. I have been bitten in the past by non-schema'd data
                        > one too many times. Yes, it is a pain, but converting between N
                        > non-conforming variations with non-standard extensions is a bigger
                        > one.

                        This is one of the reasons I am not using RDF in drafting up an
                        outline for a 'syndication only' language. The RDF syntax obfuscates
                        what are really simple issues, so that you end up worrying about
                        the 'right' XML-RDF way of expressing things, as opposed to thinking about
                        the information the message needs, and the relationhsips between these
                        pieces of information.

                        Ian
                      • Dan Libby
                        ... way it ... makes ... memorize ... and ... see ... people. ... contain an ... data ... about ... these ... Yes, exactly. In a nutshell, that is why the
                        Message 11 of 11 , Aug 28, 2000
                        View Source
                        • 0 Attachment
                          > > I don't like it precisely because it is annoying and because it
                          > > creates more confusion over what RDF is and why the spec is the
                          way it
                          > > is. To me, RDF is the data model. Imposing a specific syntax
                          makes
                          > > people think it is a certain structure, and then they try to
                          memorize
                          > > the structure or syntax instead of figuring it out, and then don't
                          > > understand why it doesn't work. I went through this process for a
                          > > while myself. However, if you explain things in terms of triples
                          and
                          > > relationships up-front, the light clicks on,and it becomes easy to
                          see
                          > > how and why things are. This is true even for non-technical
                          people.
                          > > I think it is a must for the spec to show the graph, and to
                          contain an
                          > > official schema. I have been bitten in the past by non-schema'd
                          data
                          > > one too many times. Yes, it is a pain, but converting between N
                          > > non-conforming variations with non-standard extensions is a bigger
                          > > one.
                          >
                          > This is one of the reasons I am not using RDF in drafting up an
                          > outline for a 'syndication only' language. The RDF syntax obfuscates
                          > what are really simple issues, so that you end up worrying about
                          > the 'right' XML-RDF way of expressing things, as opposed to thinking
                          about
                          > the information the message needs, and the relationhsips between
                          these
                          > pieces of information.
                          >
                          > Ian

                          Yes, exactly. In a nutshell, that is why the second version of RSS
                          became plain XML. However, my feeling is that more people are "ready"
                          for RDF this time. I just hate to see us repeat the same mistakes by
                          placing emphasis on the syntax, and not on the data model.
                        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.