One important difference is that instead of describing a class as having a collection of specific properties, an RDF schema describes properties as applying to specific classes of resources, using domain and range properties. For example, a typical object-oriented programming language might define a class Book with an attribute called author having values of type Person. A corresponding RDF schema would describe a class ex:Book, and, in a separate description, a property ex:author having a domain of ex:Book and a range of ex:Person.

The difference between these approaches may seem to be only syntactic, but in fact there is an important difference. In the programming language class description, the attribute author is part of the description of class Book, and applies only to instances of class Book. Another class (say, softwareModule) might also have an attribute called author, but this would be considered a different attribute. In other words, the scope of an attribute description in most programming languages is restricted to the class or type in which it is defined. In RDF, on the other hand, property descriptions are, by default, independent of class definitions, and have, by default, global scope (although they may optionally be declared to apply only to certain classes using domain specifications).

« Difference between RDF and object oriented languages »

A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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