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Re: Subjects as Literals, [was Re: The Ordered List Ontology]

From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 2010 15:11:48 +0100
Message-ID: <4C2DF3A4.9040709@webr3.org>
To: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
CC: Yves Raimond <yves.raimond@gmail.com>, Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>
Richard Cyganiak wrote:
> Hi Yves,
> 
> [trimmed cc list]
> 
> On 2 Jul 2010, at 11:15, Yves Raimond wrote:
>> I am not arguing for each vendor to implement that. I am arguing for
>> removing this arbitrary limitation from the RDF spec. Also marked as
>> an issue since 2000:
>> http://www.w3.org/2000/03/rdf-tracking/#rdfms-literalsubjects
> 
> The demand that W3C modify the specs to allow literals as subjects 
> should be rejected on a simple principle: Those who demand that change, 
> including yourself, have failed to put their money where their mouth is. 
> Where is the alternative specification that documents the syntactic and 
> semantic extension? Where are the proposed "RDF/XML++" and "RDFa++" that 
> support literals as subjects? Where are the patches to Jena, Sesame, 
> Redland and ARC2 that support these changes?
> 
> The restriction seems to bother some people enough that they write noisy 
> emails, but it apparently doesn't bother them enough to actually do 
> anything about it.
> 
> W3C's job should be to broker compromises between non-interoperable 
> approaches by different vendors, and to foster adoption by putting its 
> stamp of approval on already widely deployed technologies developed by 
> the community. You know, the kind of stuff that actually came out near 
> the top of the RDF Next Steps work item poll [1]: named graphs, Turtle, 
> RDF/JSON.
> 
> Someone mentioned HTML 3.2 in this thread. Let me mention the ill-fated 
> XHTML 2.0. A group of markup purists who were more interested in 
> polishing the arcane details of the language, rather than meeting the 
> interests of the heaviest users and the vendors. They did an enormous 
> disservice to W3C and the web. The users and vendors turned their back 
> on W3C, started their own effort, and W3C ultimately had to abandon 
> XHTML 2.0 or risk to become irrelevant to the future of HTML.
> 
> Literals as subjects feels very much like an XHTML 2.0 kind of feature 
> to me.
> 
> Or, coming at it from a completely different direction: I have yet to 
> meet a person (except Nathan perhaps) who says, "Yeah that RDF stuff, I 
> had a look at it but then saw that it does not support literals as 
> subjects, so I gave up on it."

To clarify - I certainly am not giving up on RDF, and RDF (with the 
exception of Graph Literals) *does* support everything I need (including 
literals as subjects) - however I am having to give up on restricting 
myself to only using the constrained subset of RDF provided by the 
common serializations.

I've found, that in order to be productive and actually make real 
applications running over a read/write web of linked data I'll need the 
most of the full RDF model & those graph literals - in other words N3 
provides everything I need [*] to be able to leave the issues behind and 
just get on being productive (and hopefully a little bit innovative).

I can, and will still publish and consume the common serializations of 
RDF we all use, but to use the data functionally in an application I 
need N3 too.

* tooling is poor of course so far.. but Toby has already stated he's 
wanting to implement in Perl, Yves has already started years ago, TimBL, 
DanC obviously with CWM, others I'm sure, and I'm certainly going to 
address an implementation for ECMAScript-262 (as are some MIT'ers) on 
client and server and quite possibly port to PHP for ARC2 (although 
that's sometime off and isn't a promise), many others have expressed the 
same sentiments over the last day or two alone - so tooling won't be an 
issue for too long, just as it isn't now for the other RDF 
serializations but was years ago.

Hope that clarifies :)

ps: fwiw, I'm with Ian, Toby, Henry and many others on this - leave the 
existing serializations alone, they are only a subset but they do the 
job quite well and let us publish and consume linked data - so it's all 
cool - changing the serializations and stack that's out there is an 
(imho) ridiculously bad idea that will benefit nobody, and it needs 
dropped from all these conversations - the original thread was from me, 
to clarify if subjects as literals were supported by the RDF Semantics, 
and they are, as if virtually anything in any position so it's a non 
issue, and certainly wasn't the issue everybodies hooked up on about 
changing rdf/xml and the likes.

Best,

Nathan
Received on Friday, 2 July 2010 14:13:01 UTC

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