Short Essay: Squeezing RDF into a Java Object Model

Steven R. Newcomb srn at
Mon May 3 23:21:49 BST 1999

[Walter E. Perry:]

> We need implementation tools--and not just for RDF--which are also
> agglomerative, building a larger ball or sphere of interconnected
> structure from the details of instance markup as it is processed.

Sounds like you are at a point where you can recognize that the grove
paradigm is, in the end, the right solution.  It's already an
international standard: ISO/IEC 10744:1997 Annex A.4.

It's a common fallacy that the interchange syntax of an information
set (such as might be constrained by an XML DTD) should also be the
API to that information set.  But APIs are a completely different
animal from interchange syntaxes, in which, for example, redundancy is
desirable, instead of undesirable.  I've noticed that at least some
proponents of RDF tend to be trapped in this fallacy, and David
Megginson's efforts to make sense of RDF dramatizes some of the
problems that this fallacy causes, such as the many unnamed properties
that turn out to be both implicit and required.  (Indeed, RDF itself
appears to be designed to promulgate the "syntax is API" fallacy.)
The "syntax is API" fallacy is a well-intentioned simplifying
assumption that, instead of simplifying, creates complexity and
significantly reduces human productivity.

Einstein once said something to the effect that things should be as
simple as possible, and no simpler.  In the domain of information
interchange, groves, inheritable information architectures, and
property sets for inheritable information architectures make things as
simple as possible, and no simpler.  The hidden and implicit
properties of information expressed in RDF, for example, can be
formalized, named, and made addressable by means of a property set.
The exercise of creating such a property set, in turn, allows
re-usable software modules for RDF to be used as a partners to
applications that need to manipulate information that is interchanged
according to RDF syntax.

My company has developed an implementation of the ISO grove paradigm
called "GroveMinder".  Those who want the demo should contact me.


Steven R. Newcomb, President, TechnoTeacher, Inc.
srn at

voice: +1 972 231 4098 (at ISOGEN: +1 214 953 0004 x137)
fax    +1 972 994 0087 (at ISOGEN: +1 214 953 3152)

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