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Re: ISSUE-12: xs:string VS plain literals: proposed resolution

From: Steve Harris <steve.harris@garlik.com>
Date: Fri, 6 May 2011 15:22:42 +0100
Cc: Andy Seaborne <andy.seaborne@epimorphics.com>, "public-rdf-wg@w3.org" <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <2EA29E7A-6082-4007-9C78-AE0A67032CAD@garlik.com>
To: Alex Hall <alexhall@revelytix.com>
On 2011-05-06, at 13:32, Alex Hall wrote:

> On Friday, May 6, 2011, Andy Seaborne <andy.seaborne@epimorphics.com> wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> On 04/05/11 20:13, Pat Hayes wrote:
>> 
>> I am confused. There seems to now be a consensus view that plain,
>> untyped literals are a Good Thing, to be preferred to clunky typed
>> literals.  But the last time I encountered this whole issue of plain
>> literals in RDF, there was a very strong consensus that plainness was
>> a problem, and everything would be better if - in fact, for some,
>> life would be possible only if - all literals had a type. Which is
>> why the rdf:PlainLiteral type was invented, to be the type of these
>> anomalous entities that had no type, in order that every literal
>> would have a type.
>> 
>> So, can anyone enlighten me? Are typed literals good or bad? Is
>> plainness beautiful, or a dire problem? And are there any actual
>> arguments either way, or is this all based on intuition and
>> aesthetics?
>> 
>> Pat
>> 
>> 
>> I can take a partial explanation of this ... hopefully we can build a complete picture.  This is only my post hoc rationalisation.
>> 
>> People writing data like to write "foo".  They don't really see the need to write "foo"^^xsd:string.  Just like writing 123 for "123"^^xsd:integer. This is the syntax and appearance side of the issue.  What is serialized by "foo"?
> 
> If that's the only reason to have untyped literals then I'd prefer to
> see all literals as typed in the abstract syntax and "a" used as a
> shortcut for "a"^^xsd:string in the concrete syntax. It would simplify
> implementation logic (no longer have to check for no datatype as a
> special case) and align better with RIF and OWL. It does leave open
> the question of how to treat language tags.

Not really DATATYPE("foo") is xsd:string already. http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-sparql-query/#func-datatype

- Steve

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Received on Friday, 6 May 2011 14:23:11 GMT

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