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[protege-owl] Question about Protege 4 Renderings

James Howison james at
Mon Oct 20 08:02:13 PDT 2008

On 20 Oct 2008, at 6:18 AM, Nick Drummond wrote:

> Sara,
> The main reasons for using RDF/XML currently are:
> - backwards/forward compatibility between OWL1 and OWL2

Nick, what I understand from this is that the OWL/XML (XML-ABBREV in  
jena, I think) does not have forward/backward compatibility, but what  
about n3/Turtle?  Any issues there?

> - if an RDF representation or interaction with RDF is critical for you
> application (even then, some of the triples syntaxes could also be  
> used)
> You can find a description of the syntax here [1] (specifically [2]  
> for the
> XML spec - work in progress).
> Unless you are doing really straightforward transformations on the  
> OWL,
> writing code to directly manipulate the XML tree could quickly  
> become a
> nightmare (and writing an OWL API in another language is something a  
> lot of
> people would love - I'd vote for php - but certainly non-trivial).

Sara, if you want to go this route (an OWL API in your language of  
choice) you should also consider Turtle/n3/N-Triples as as easier  
representation to work with, at least initially.  You could cope with  
both XML representations by using a binary XML conversion using the  
standard libraries (eg Jena), driven from within your language of  
choice, (or a web service) to convert to one of those formats.  Having  
said that, the most important choice will be your internal  
representation of the graph, and for that you'll be best off talking  
to the people who have written RDF libraries (eg Jena, Redland).

The important thing to recognize is that RDF/XML, OWL/XML, Turtle/n3/N- 
Triples are all _serializations_ of the same set of underlying  
triples, AFAIK (and if I'm wrong I hope that others will step in)  
there are no important expressiveness differences between the  
serializations (and when there are the plain text formats are more  
expressive rather than less expressive, though not for anything that  
matters in OWL1 or OWL2).

> Nick
> [1]
> [2]
> 2008/10/19 Sara Paiva <sara.paiva at>
>> I didn´t want to use JAVA.. so i was thinking of making a simple  
>> API in
>> another language of my convenience in the work i´m developing.
>> That´s the reason.
>> Still remains the questions:
>> 1) advantages/disadvantages of making the rendering in either ways.  
>> What´s
>> the big difference of making a given ontology and then rend in RDF  
>> or OWL.
>> What is the difference?
>> 2) Is there a specification of how the representation is done?
>> Thanks in advance.
>> Sara Paiva
>> On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 8:23 PM, James Howison <james at>  
>> wrote:
>>> I'm certain there are good reasons, but perhaps you help me  
>>> understand
>>> when it's useful to process RDF as XML (as opposed to using a  
>>> library
>>> like Jena/Redland to process it as RDF?).  For example can one use
>>> XLST to transform it (and is that easier than working  
>>> programmatically
>>> with the RDF statements serialized in the XML)?
>>> On 18 Oct 2008, at 2:11 PM, Sara Paiva wrote:
>>>> Good afternoon,
>>>> i am working with Protégé 4 now and i see there is the possibity of
>>>> rendering the ontology in several formats. I am interested in XML
>>>> format so
>>>> that leaves me with RDF/XML or OWL/XML.
>>>> I would like to know the advantages/disadvantages of making the
>>>> rendering in
>>>> either ways.
>>>> If i want to process the XML file that represents the ontology, is
>>>> there any
>>>> specification of how the rendering in both cases is done?
>>>> I appreciate any help on this matter.
>>>> Thanks in advance
>>>> Sara Paiva
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