Resource Description Format and XML-Data

Rick Jelliffe ricko at
Thu Jan 29 12:31:57 GMT 1998

> From: Joe Lapp <jlapp at>

> The RDF schema effort only needs to be general enough to represent
> the narrow range of types needed to support the RDF syntax.  XML-DATA
> is more ambitious, and so being, is out of the scope of RDF.

In another forum the RDF people agreed that they *could* use the standard
DTD syntax to markup the information they wanted. However, because they
had a particular way they wanted the markup to look, they had to invent some
alternative to the XML DTD syntax. (Their justification for this reinventing
the wheel seems to be "because we want it this way" rather than any technical
reason--I am not saying they are being willful in this or that they really
don't like the idea of markup languages; there may well be
good reasons that they have not been able to express yet.)

RDF does not need a new declaration syntax. They just don't want to be

This being the case, XML-data should not use "XML DTDs cannot support the
needs of super-hyper-important things like RDF" as a justification for
what they are doing. It may be that XML-data declarations can model RDF
documents more the way RDF people want it to be done, but that is likely
to be the case with every niche DTD: if you invent a new declaration syntax
for every niche document type you just minimise how useable your data is
by general purpose tools. You lose many of the benefits of having standardized
declarations: or worse, you discover that the reasons you disliked the
XML DTD syntax are just as present in the new syntax.

Rick Jelliffe 

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