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Re: Can we have interoperability without a formal semantics? (Was RE: Comments list comments)

From: Steve Harris <S.W.Harris@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 11:58:55 +0000
To: RDF Data Access Working Group <public-rdf-dawg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20050322115854.GJ11619@login.ecs.soton.ac.uk>

On Tue, Mar 22, 2005 at 06:27:21AM -0500, Thompson, Bryan B. wrote:
> Steve,
> 
> Don't you think that we will need to have a formal semantics in order to
> achieve interoperability?  Test cases at the inputs and outputs level can
> go some distance toward identifying problems, but there are always the 
> possible misunderstandings and edge conditions that are not covered by the
> test cases, are not part of any conformance suite, and will be the source
> of interoperability failure.  Without a formal semantics for SPARQL, how
> can we hope to have vendor interoperability?

I think we can have (adequate) interoperability without complete format
semantics, as long as the behaviour is still well defined in important
areas, though clearly formal semantics are helpful. We have formal
semantics for at least some of the specification, as far as I understand
it.

The existance of formal semantics is not the be all and end all of
interoperability, as implementors still have to translate the semantics
into working code, which can be difficult.

Just to be clear, I've never wanted interoperability to the extent that
two stores when confronted wit hthe same query will return the same
results, but the differences between the results should probably be
understood (eg. multi-graph storage model, inference capabilities etc.).

- Steve 
Received on Tuesday, 22 March 2005 11:58:58 GMT

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