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Re: Other names for 'property groups' [was: Re: RDFa DOM API - New Editor's Draft]

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@webbackplane.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 2010 15:05:13 +0100
Message-ID: <AANLkTimqmwpEkyn-eM97HTYfyDyGj5-4TQOiAehFBPdp@mail.gmail.com>
To: Simon Grant <asimong@gmail.com>
Cc: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>, Shane McCarron <shane@aptest.com>, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>, RDFa WG <public-rdfa-wg@w3.org>
Hi Simon,

On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 1:28 PM, Simon Grant <asimong@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 1 June 2010 09:11, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org> wrote:
>> My problem is with the word 'Property'. [...]
> With my natural language / common usage ears on, I hear "property" as
> something that includes predicate and object (as in RDF that is).
> Not sure about 'predicate', as it doesn't really have common usage -- but
> sounds to me as not including the object / value.

Yes, I very much agree...you're spot on.

The whole point of using the term 'property group' was to bring out
the fact that we're describing collections of name/value pairs.

So if you query for:

    "a": "Person",
    "name": "?name",
    "mbox": "?mbox"

the resulting JSON objects might be:

      "name": "Ivan",
      "mbox": "ivan@w3.org"
      "name": "Mark",
      "mbox": "mark.birbeck@webBackplane.com"
      "name": "Simon",
      "mbox": "asimong@gmail.com"

Leave aside the 'email-address-as-resource' question for now. :)

As you rightly point out, each of the items in the object is a
*property* because it comprises a name/value pair -- the notion of
predicate only implies one half of that couplet.

Up until the point where the term 'property group' was introduced we
were talking about triples, subjects, predicates, objects. literals,
and so on. I think the effect on the specification of moving to the
idea of 'groups of properties that relate to the same identifier' is
quite profound, since it allows us to hide the RDFness of what we're
doing, but in a way that is recognisable to RDFers.

So someone not familiar with RDF will see these groupings as
collections of OO-style properties (or name/value pairs), whilst
someone versed in RDF will see this as a collection of RDF properties
(i.e., predicate/object couplets). But both interpretations can
coexist because from an RDF standpoint both are actually 'correct';
RDF has its roots in many different disciplines, and it can model many
different kinds of interpretation.

I'm not saying that no-one will come up with something better than
'property group' -- it would be great if they did -- but I think it's
important to recognise that (a) this term is really not complex, and
(b) its ambiguity in relation to the RDF and non-RDF worlds is
actually what gives it its strength.

> How about 'characteristic'?

Interesting direction, although I have to say I'm not
keen...'characteristic group' seems a bit of a mouthful, and it
doesn't have the benefit of the bridging nature of the word



Mark Birbeck, webBackplane



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Received on Tuesday, 1 June 2010 14:05:57 UTC

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