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Two thoughts on Turtle

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2011 14:48:35 -0700
To: public-rdf-wg <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1307483315.2989.75.camel@waldron>
Especially coming out of the schema.org debates, there are two things
I'd like to see, if we can get them to work out.

1.  Turtle-in-HTML.  

I think it's standard-compliant right now to publish RDF in HTML like

        <script type="text/turtle">
        @prefix foaf: <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/>.
        <http://www.w3.org/People/Sandro/data#Sandro_Hawke> foaf:name
        "Sandro Hawke".
See [1].

But I would like to make sure our Turtle spec makes that clear, and
perhaps we can address some questions about base and relative URIs, and
other issues that might arise in having multiple Turtle blocks at the
same URL.  

2.  Turtle Barewords

I think there is a large class of users that would appreciate being able
to write:

        @prefix <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/>.
        [] a Person; name "Sandro Hawke", mbox <mailto:sandro@w3.org>.
        [] a Person; name "Ivan Herman". mbox <mailto:ivan@w3.org>.
Note that I left out a whole lot of colons.

N3 does something like this, although it uses:

        @prefix default <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/>.
which is okay, too. 

TimBL designed N3 to be future-proof around this by saying if you use a
default like this, you can't use keywords like "a" without also
declaring them, with "@keyword a".   That made sense at the time [2],
but I don't think it's something we need to worry about any more.  I
don't think Turtle will be getting new keywords, without a leading "@",
without a change of media type.  [3]

I know this is a problem for SPARQL, which does have lots of keywords
and is likely to add more; I don't have a good solution for that.

I suppose some people might hold that colons are good for people, always
reminding them that they *could* be using other namespaces, but I'm not
convinced.  There's a large audience who I think can and probably should
use Turtle who will be using it mostly with one namespace and will
appreciate not having to learn to work with and around a lot of
unnecessary colons.

     -- Sandro

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/semantic-web/2010Nov/0218.html
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-interest/2001Jan/0170
[3] And if this is my "there is a world market for maybe five computers"
statement, I can live with that.
Received on Tuesday, 7 June 2011 21:48:44 UTC

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