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Re: Why I don't like 'instanceof' (was Re: [RDFa] ISSUE-3: syntactic sugar for rdf:type)

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@x-port.net>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2007 11:24:10 +0100
Message-ID: <640dd5060707200324l5ce07524mb8f933ebee8547de@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Ivan Herman" <ivan@w3.org>
Cc: "Hausenblas, Michael" <michael.hausenblas@joanneum.at>, "Steven Pemberton" <steven.pemberton@cwi.nl>, "Ben Adida" <ben@adida.net>, RDFa <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>, "SWD WG" <public-swd-wg@w3.org>

Hello all,

Is 'instanceof' really so bad? It's been said that it is second-best
to the more preferable (but taken) @role, @type and @class attributes,
but I disagree. As a well-known British advert goes: "it does what it
says on the tin", and I think that mark-up that indicates that we have
an 'instance of' a foaf:Person (for example), is actually much closer
to what we want than 'type', 'role' or 'class'.

I also don't believe it is 'RDF-speak', any more than 'class', or
'type', or 'resource'. Of course, for someone versed in RDF these
names will ring bellsand be very clear, but even for someone with no
RDF background, I don't think they are particularly confusing. The
notion of 'instances' of something will be pretty clear to most
authors. And whether we like it or not, I think we do have to accept
that we can't hide some of the basic concepts.

The other objection I've seen is from Steven, that the name comprises
'two words', but with respect that does seem to be a personal
preference, rather than based on some deep problem. It would be great
if it was backed by an argument, otherwise we can't actually debate
it.

Regards,

Mark

On 20/07/07, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org> wrote:
>
>
> Hausenblas, Michael wrote:
> >> 'type' is an existing attribute in HTML
> >
> > ... that's why my mother always says: Think before you speak/write ;)
> >
> > But, still, IMHO the *new* attribute should be something
> > containing 'type'. Now risking Steven will hate me, I propose:
> >
> > 'typeOf'
> >
> > Hope I did not open another Pandora's box ;)
>
> You did:-)
>
> Ivan
>
> >
> > Cheers,
> >       Michael
> >
> > ----------------------------------------------------------
> >  Michael Hausenblas, MSc.
> >  Institute of Information Systems & Information Management
> >  JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
> >
> >  http://www.joanneum.at/iis/
> > ----------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Ivan Herman [mailto:ivan@w3.org]
> >> Sent: Friday, July 20, 2007 11:17 AM
> >> To: Hausenblas, Michael
> >> Cc: Steven Pemberton; Ben Adida; RDFa; SWD WG
> >> Subject: Re: Why I don't like 'instanceof' (was Re: [RDFa]
> >> ISSUE-3: syntactic sugar for rdf:type)
> >>
> >> 'type' is an existing attribute in HTML
> >>
> >> Ivan
> >>
> >> Hausenblas, Michael wrote:
> >>> Again: Why do we refuse naming it 'type'?
> >>>
> >>> Because it is to RDFish? (BTW, we're doing *R*D*F*a)
> >>> Or are there any (X)HTML (2) issues, I might have missed?
> >>>
> >>> Cheers,
> >>>     Michael
> >>>
> >>> ----------------------------------------------------------
> >>>  Michael Hausenblas, MSc.
> >>>  Institute of Information Systems & Information Management
> >>>  JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
> >>>
> >>>  http://www.joanneum.at/iis/
> >>> ----------------------------------------------------------
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>> -----Original Message-----
> >>>> From: public-swd-wg-request@w3.org
> >>>> [mailto:public-swd-wg-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Ivan Herman
> >>>> Sent: Friday, July 20, 2007 10:57 AM
> >>>> To: Steven Pemberton
> >>>> Cc: Ben Adida; RDFa; SWD WG
> >>>> Subject: Re: Why I don't like 'instanceof' (was Re: [RDFa]
> >>>> ISSUE-3: syntactic sugar for rdf:type)
> >>>>
> >>>> If so... 'category' maybe the closest to what we mean...
> >>>>
> >>>> Ivan
> >>>>
> >>>> Steven Pemberton wrote:
> >>>>> I think there are only 3 reasons why I think 'instanceof' is
> >>>> a bad choice:
> >>>>> 1. Multiword, which I already spoke of.
> >>>>> 2. instance has another meaning in some existing and future XHTML
> >>>>> documents.
> >>>>> 3. It comes over as rdf-speak. Up to now we have done our
> >>>> best to avoid
> >>>>> exposing RDF terminology to the XHTML author; no subject,
> >> predicate,
> >>>>> object and so on, just existing HTML concepts where possible.
> >>>>> Unfortuantely, most of the synonyms have already been taken (class,
> >>>>> type, role), but I still think we should try and find
> >> something that
> >>>>> reads better than 'instanceof' or 'isa'.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> /me runs a thesaurus
> >>>>>
> >>>>> sort
> >>>>> kind
> >>>>> category
> >>>>> realm
> >>>>>
> >>>>> depict
> >>>>> portray
> >>>>> represent
> >>>>> embody
> >>>>>
> >>>>> like
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Steven
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 20:25:48 +0200, Ben Adida
> >> <ben@adida.net> wrote:
> >>>>>> Hi all,
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> In today's telecon, we proposed and resolved to use a *new*
> >>>> attribute,
> >>>>>> rather than @class or @role, for the rdf:type syntactic
> >> sugar. Thus,
> >>>>>> @class and @role do not currently result in any triples
> >>>> being generated,
> >>>>>> although one may consider that they will in a future version.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> The question, then, is which attribute to use. Steven expressed
> >>>>>> reservations about two-word attributes like "isa" or
> >>>> "instanceof", and
> >>>>>> instead proposed: denotes, depicts, represents, category,
> >> ilk, kind.
> >>>>>> Other thoughts?
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> I'm partial to "instanceof" and "kind", and I have no additional
> >>>>>> suggestions.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> -Ben
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>> --
> >>>>
> >>>> Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
> >>>> Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
> >>>> PGP Key: http://www.ivan-herman.net/pgpkey.html
> >>>> FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf
> >>>>
> >> --
> >>
> >> Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
> >> Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
> >> PGP Key: http://www.ivan-herman.net/pgpkey.html
> >> FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf
> >>
>
> --
>
> Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
> Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/
> PGP Key: http://www.ivan-herman.net/pgpkey.html
> FOAF: http://www.ivan-herman.net/foaf.rdf
>
>


-- 
  Mark Birbeck, formsPlayer

  mark.birbeck@x-port.net | +44 (0) 20 7689 9232
  http://www.formsPlayer.com | http://internet-apps.blogspot.com

  standards. innovation.
Received on Friday, 20 July 2007 10:24:15 GMT

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