And again, and again …

By | 2004/02/14

Chris Ferris writes in response to my suggestion that processing an XML document is an all-or-nothing proposition;

I don’t see it that way. Understanding an XML document is not an all-or-nothing proposition by any stretch of the imagination. For instance, I can have a generic SOAP processor that understands the SOAP namespace but is oblivious to the content of the soap:Body element (amongst other things such as certain SOAP headers).[…]

I see the disconnect. I’m referring to any/all XML document(s). No fair saying that some specific kinds of XML documents are partially understandable, because clearly you can design one to be, and SOAP, as an envelope, is one as you correctly point out.

So, consider this XML document;

<iwoejaf xmlns="http://example.org/oijerwer">
  <ijrwer>inm4jvxc</ijrwer>
</iwoejaf>

That’s the kind of document I’m talking about. Wouldn’t you say that understanding that document is all or nothing? You either recognize the namespace or you don’t, right? Well, that’s not the case with RDF/XML since it gives you “partial understanding”; if that document above were known to be RDF/XML (and it is valid RDF/XML), then an RDF/XML processor can extract information from it piece-meal (in triples). Now, maybe none of the terms in any of the triples will be recognizable, but perhaps if you dereference the URI for each of the terms in those triples, you’ll find that the terms you don’t know are related to ones you do.

Now can you see why TimBL is so keen to see folks use RDF/XML? It’s the answer to the schema evolution problem.

HTTP is a great application protocol, for the application for which it was designed… the Web.

Finally, something we can agree on! 8-) Now, if only you understood what the Web was, and was capable of, we’d be all set.

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