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Re: JSON Emergency Brake

From: Lee Feigenbaum <lee@thefigtrees.net>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2011 11:46:23 -0400
Message-ID: <4E53CB4F.3080408@thefigtrees.net>
To: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
CC: Thomas Steiner <tomac@google.com>, RDF WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
On 8/23/2011 11:44 AM, Richard Cyganiak wrote:
> Thomas,
>
> Your point seems to be: We should stop working on RDF/JSON, because
> JavaScript developers who are already familiar with JSON will look at
> it and not like it.
>
> The target audience of RDF/JSON is not JavaScript developers who are
> already familiar with JSON. It is RDF developers who work in
> JavaScript. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a format designed to
> fill a small but concrete niche. This has been said in our
> discussions over and over again, so it's nothing new.

+1000.

Lee

>
> You are saying that the wrong people might look at RDF/JSON and they
> might think it's meant for them. I think the correct response to that
> is *not* to stop working on RDF/JSON, but to make sure that the
> messaging around the format does not create the impression that it's
> targeted at them.
>
> One step towards avoiding that impression would be to rename it,
> removing JSON from the name.
>
> Best, Richard
>
>
>
> On 23 Aug 2011, at 16:25, Thomas Steiner wrote:
>
>> Dear all,(*)
>>
>> === TL;DR: in my humble opinion, we should not continue with
>> RDF/JSON, but fully focus on JSON-LD even if it might take longer,
>> as JSON-LD feels like  JSON, whereas RDF/JSON feels like RDF in a
>> JSON camouflage. ===
>>
>> First and foremost, I want to apologize for whatever toes I step
>> on with this email. This email is in no way meant as an offense to
>> the individuals and companies involved, and I want to highlight
>> that I'm in the comfortable - but also unthankful - position of the
>> (hopefully) neutral observer, who enters the discussion when all
>> the foundational work has already been done. By this foundational
>> work I mean RDF/JSON [1] by Talis, and JSON-LD [2] by PaySwarm
>> (forgive the simplification of not mentioning persons, but
>> companies). Thanks! It's excellent! I could not have done it.
>>
>> Now, in ISSUE-2 [3], we came to the conclusion to "(1) Incubate on
>> something like JSON-LD, (2) make a REC on something like Talis
>> RDF/JSON [...]". The more and more I look at both specs, the more
>> and more I feel like the resolution we agreed on for ISSUE-2 was
>> wrong. Following ACTION-38 [4] where Ivan had asked me to become a
>> co-editor on the to-be-REC'ed Talis RDF/JSON that I accepted, the
>> proposed workflow was Ian to commit a first draft of the document
>> ([1] effectively), that could then be discussed.
>>
>> I have fully re-read both specs, but all honestly, the actual
>> eye-openers for me were a blog post [5] by Alexandre Passant and a
>> tweet by Christopher Gutteridge [6]. JSON-LD is(**) about objects,
>> simple default assumptions, elegancy, and developers in mind,
>> whereas RDF/JSON seems to be created with the premise to carry all
>> the expressiveness of RDF over to JSON, whatever the cost might be.
>> Coming more from a JavaScript camp than from an RDF camp myself,
>> this feels wrong. Of course I can see where RDF/JSON came from, and
>> it completely makes sense from that perspective. In the next
>> paragraph, I explain why.
>>
>> Let me try to explain my main concerns with a bad metaphor (there's
>> a long tradition of those...). Web developers, JavaScript people,
>> those who speak JSON natively, are the cool kids. We are the
>> detached youth workers [7] who put on an adidas hoodie, read up on
>> street slang on the Internet, and try to behave just like the cool
>> kids. We serve them RDF/JSON (yes, yes, yo, homie), but we will
>> probably fail. They see through our plan, we risk to get laughed
>> at. RDF/JSON just does not feel natural to them, and this now, at a
>> critical point, where semantics are kind of back in the section
>> "cool" of the news. Of course I'm referring to schema.org(***). If
>> we get a syntax REC out now that does not feel native to the cool
>> kids (even if we incubate on something better [3]), we risk on
>> losing traction. I have asked some Google JavaScript people for
>> advise, and they feel "at home" in JSON-LD. It is the language they
>> speak. I feel at home in JSON-LD. Others do [8, 9], [10]. The
>> Twitter feedback on the RDF/JSON draft release [1] is relatively
>> critical [11].
>>
>> Now, those are tough claims and vague feelings, but I considered
>> them important enough to write this email. Apologies again to
>> whomever toes I have stepped on. My concrete proposition is: we
>> refrain from working further on the RDF/JSON REC, and fully focus
>> on JSON-LD instead. I would also like to back out of being an
>> editor of [1], as I have not done anything at all on that spec yet,
>> and because I feel it is wrong at this point in time, as hopefully
>> explained in this email. While I have done very, very limited
>> amounts of work on JSON-LD (just following the discussion mainly),
>> I am happy to serve as an editor thereof in fulfillment of what I
>> agreed on in ACTION-38 [4], but it feels like adorning myself with
>> borrowed plumes, as the German saying goes, and very much
>> undeserved. Maybe we can discuss this during one of the next RDF WG
>> meetings, maybe even in a joint RDF - RDFa WG meeting.
>>
>> In the hope of not having hurt too many feelings, but rather
>> started a productive discussion instead.
>>
>> Best, Tom
>>
>> [1] http://dvcs.w3.org/hg/rdf/raw-file/default/rdf-json/index.html
>> [2] http://json-ld.org/spec/latest/ [3]
>> http://www.w3.org/2011/rdf-wg/track/issues/2 [4]
>> http://www.w3.org/2011/rdf-wg/track/actions/38 [5]
>> http://blog.seevl.net/2011/08/18/about-json-ld-and-content-negotiation/
>>
>>
[6] http://twitter.com/cgutteridge/status/105894098023620608
>> [7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_work#Detached_youth_work [8]
>> http://twitter.com/orlin/status/104926442843934721 [9]
>> http://twitter.com/orlin/status/104797459292753920 (note the
>> hashtag #unsemanticweblike) [10]
>> http://twitter.com/terraces/status/105066802740080640 [11]
>> https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/rdf%20json%20-RT (realtime,
>> might have changed when you click the link)
>>
>> (*) Full disclaimer: I have had this email be ACK'ed off-list by
>> Ian Davis, Manu Sporny, Guus Schreiber, and Ivan Herman before
>> sending it on-list now.
>>
>> (**) When I write "is", "seems", etc., basically all verbs, all
>> this reflects my impression that I personally got. You can add an
>> "IMHO" suffix to each sentence. The spec authors will probably
>> disagree with some assumptions.
>>
>> (***) I was not at all involved in any of the schema.org
>> discussions, plannings, the concept at all. All what I'm writing
>> here on this topic, I do it with my Google hat off.
>>
>> -- Thomas Steiner, Research Scientist, Google Inc.
>> http://blog.tomayac.com, http://twitter.com/tomayac
>>
>
>
>
Received on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 15:47:15 GMT

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