The Data-Centric Revolution: OWL as a Discipline

Many developers pooh-pooh OWL (the dyslexic acronym for the Web Ontology Language). Many decry it as “too hard,” which seems bizarre, given that most developers I know pride themselves on their cleverness (and, as anyone who takes the time to learn OWL knows, it isn’t very hard at all). It does require you to think slightly differently about the problem domain and your design. And I thin that’s what developers don’t like. If they continue to think in the way they’ve always thought, and try to express themselves in OWL, yes, they will and do get frustrated.

That frustration might manifest itself in a breakthrough, but more often, it manifests itself in a retreat. A retreat perhaps to SHACL, but more often the retreat is more complete than that, to not doing data modeling at all. By the way, this isn’t a “OWL versus SHACL” discussion, we use SHACL almost every day. This is an “OWL plus SHACL” conversation.

The point I want to make in this article is that it might be more productive to think of OWL not as a programming language, not even as a modeling language, but as a discipline. A discipline akin to normalization.

Keep reading: The Data-Centric Revolution: OWL as a Discipline –

Read more of Dave’s articles: mccomb –

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