Because of Floris I have to spend more time at home instead of at work. But, OK, I've got loads of papers and other documents to read. So I made sure I had a heavy stack of them at home before Floris was born. Below you find some of the results I got from the latest set of papers or blogposts. Vocabulary design
James Tauber, more on xml and rdf. He believes that when you design a vocabulary you need three things:
Sounds OK to me. For some things a well-defined xml format is handy, for other things you want rdf. This is a hint I'm probably going to use.
Alexander van Lomwel sent me a paper by Enrico Cagno and colleages about e-procurement in the Italian engineering and contracting sector. The interesting things I got out of the article:
Sergey Melnik and Stefan Decker have a paper on A Layered Approach to Information Modeling and Interoperability on the Web which has a good analogy.
There is the OSI network layer which we unknowingly all use. The internet is build on TCP/IP. Ok, from the back of my memory: TCP is in layer 3, IP is in layer 4. (correction: my brother Maurits told me I swapped 3 and 4). IP transports TCP packets. All the internet applications talk layer 3 or 4. But they don't need to worry about the lower levels 1 and 2, those are handled by the hardware and, more importantly, the level 3 protocol: TCP!
They draw the analogy to semantic web-like systems. The lowest layer is the syntax layer, then the object layer, semantic layer and the application layer.
The good thing is that every layer performs a specific function. Adding info. Calculating something. Reading bytes. This way you can swap one part for another. Or at least you've got a chance to do it.
Nicola Guarino has a paper about formal ontology and information systems (pdf). Good thing in that paper is the emphasis on an ontology-driven information system development. Keeping the structural data out of the application and in an ontology. That's the way to do it. Makes the application way more maintainable.
Another thing I got out of the paper is about the cooperation between a number of ontologies. According to the paper, it is reasonable to expect unified top-level ontologies for large communities of users. Something generic on top, I can agree to that. On the second level you'll see domain ontologies, task ontologies, etc. On the third level you'll see the actual application ontologies. They will mix and match objects and properties from the second level ontologies.
Ok, that's a pretty clean subdivision. Especially on level two. And explicitly combining what you need on level three... I'll see whether that holds up to practice. It smells good.
Jon Udell about web services' human touch (apparently behind some password now...). What I got out of it was to see most of what you send over the wire as documents. For me, it's easy to think in UML and modeling terms. Keeping in mind that it should, in the end, be considered a document helps me to keep in mind what the document should be about. And that it should be moderately human-consumable. At least human-understandable :-)
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
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