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Re: toward a minimal datatypes spec: hmm...

From: Graham Klyne <Graham.Klyne@MIMEsweeper.com>
Date: Fri, 02 Aug 2002 11:17:37 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org

At 01:58 AM 8/2/02 -0500, Dan Connolly wrote:
>:rangeSyntax a r:Property;
>   s:range :Datatype.
>@prefix log: <http://www.w3.org/2000/10/swap/log#> .
>this log:forAll :P, :L, :DT.
>{ [] :P :L.
>   :P :rangeSyntax :DT.
>} log:implies { [] :DT :L }.
>:rangeSyntax s:comment { # example...
>   { ex:age :rangeSyntax dt:integer.
>     ex:jenny ex:age "10" }
>     log:implies { [] dt:integer "10" } }.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but what if there are two such properties?:

   [] :P1 :L1 ;
      :P2 :L2 .
   :P1 :rangeSyntax :DT1 .
   :P2 :rangeSyntax :DT2 .

then doesn't that also give us:

   [] :DT1 :L1 ;
      :DT2 :L2 .


I'm thinking there may be problems with things like:

   :Jenny :age "10" ;
          :weight "70" .

leading to something like this:

   :Jenny :integer "10" ;
          :integer "70" .

>So I'm starting to wonder if it makes more sense
>to specify datatypes in terms of some of the WebOnt
>features... or move some WebOnt features
>into RDFS or something...

Hmmm... that has a ring of sense to it.  I read that as suggesting a full 
account of datatypes really belongs at a higher layer.  I still think 
there's a case for a strictly local handling of datatypes in RDF, as in:

    :Jenny :age _:x .
    _:x :integer "10" .

but I think that doesn't depend on anything in RDF that isn't already 
there, other than a convention for naming XML schema datatypes with URIs, 
and interpreting them as RDF properties.

I can also see merit in Guha's suggestion, which I see as effectively being 
a way to distinguish literal datatypes syntactically and extending the 
domain of graph literals to include non-strings.  I think that's similar to 
what others have asked for, to parallel what happens in most programming 

As a long-time proponent, I agree that global datatyping can be very useful 
-- but I'm just not convinced we collectively know enough to do it properly 
at this time.

The tough question, I think, is whether we need to commit to tidy literals 
throughout at this time, or is there a way to leave an escape hatch for 
future developments?  For example (adapting Guha's suggestion, and 
reverting to XML):

    <rdf:Description about="http://example.org/Jenny">

would not actually specify anything semantically beyond

    < I(http://example.org/Jenny), x > in IEXT(I(ex:age)), for some x

but something like:

    <rdf:Description about="http://example.org/Jenny">
       <ex:age xsi:type="xsd:string">10</ex:age>


    <rdf:Description about="http://example.org/Jenny">
       <ex:age xsi:type="xsd:decimal">10</ex:age>

would force the tidy interpretation that you use in your work.

There are still questions about the form of the abstract graph (ack. 
Jeremy) -- I can imagine a couple of possibilities, but I don't think 
they're as hard to solve as what we've been trying to do.


Graham Klyne
Received on Friday, 2 August 2002 07:44:28 UTC

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