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Re: objecting to $ alone (was Re: SPARQL 2004-10-12 syntax and grammar issues)

From: Dave Beckett <dave.beckett@bristol.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 2004 14:26:18 +0000
To: kendall@monkeyfist.com
Cc: RDF Data Access Working Group <public-rdf-dawg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20041108142618.04c1d866@hoth.ilrt.bris.ac.uk>

On Mon, 8 Nov 2004 09:10:08 -0500, Kendall Clark <kendall@monkeyfist.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Nov 08, 2004 at 01:58:13PM +0000, Dave Beckett wrote:
> > On Mon, 8 Nov 2004 08:19:05 -0500, Kendall Clark <kendall@monkeyfist.com> wrote:
> > ...
> > 
> > > Just FYI, I'm pretty sure I would formally object if "$" alone is
> > > chosen. Hate to say that, but I think it's a bad (even if relatively
> > > small) mistake.
> > 
> > Why is it a mistake?  You don't give any reason in this email.
> 
> I have to keep repeating the reasons? I've given them in email
> previously and at least one face to face.

but you didn't provide a reference to them.  It's hard to keep everyone's
position on items in memory.


> To repeat:
> 
> 1. RDQL (and others, IIRC) uses "?" and I take it to be just about the
>    most well-known RDF query language, which suggests that more people
>    are used to seeing variables prefixed with "?" than with other
>    characters. Upsetting their apple carts seems a mistake, if it can
>    be avoided.

OK, that seems fair.

> 2. "?" says, in my estimation, variable more than "$". (The
>    "usability argument".)

However perl, php and in particular XQuery use $ for variables,
so I'd say this is weaker as a usability argument.

> 3. I don't find the motivation for "$" to be in the least bit
>    compelling, namely, I think it's bad form for us to design our
>    language to avoid the brokenness of deployed software. Which is, as
>    it turns out, a bunch of software I simply don't care about, use,
>    or have users who use.

OK.

> 4. If "?" has to be avoided to make broken JDBC stuff work for some
>    people, what do we tell people for whom "$" also causes problems?

I don't recall hearing that $ would cause problems.  It might be
that it's on the comments list or we don't hear about this till we make
a new document and ask for feedback.

> By the way, if I weren't such a nice person, I'd take offense at yr
> tasteless process wankery. I'm fully aware that *when or if I formally
> object*, that I need to supply reasons. I have not formally objected,
> and I have supplied these reasons, both in email and face-to-face, in
> the past.

I just wanted more information; to see if I possibly supported your
potential formal objection or could tease out what your detailed problem was
that you considered so serious, and maybe discuss it. But without doing a lot
of looking into the archives and minutes, it was easier to just ask you.  Your
summary above answers that for me.  I don't plan to spend more time myself
worrying about this symbol choice.

Dave
Received on Monday, 8 November 2004 14:29:27 GMT

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