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RE: XML Schema is untidy (was RE: type test case)

From: Graham Klyne <Graham.Klyne@MIMEsweeper.com>
Date: Thu, 08 Aug 2002 16:12:45 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com
Cc: <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>

At 12:18 PM 8/8/02 +0300, Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com wrote:
> > It appears that community feedback is that that's exactly
> > what we ought
> > to be doing (for a small set of datatypes)
>I didn't see any substantial feedback suggesting this.
>A few outspoken respondents does not constitute an
>overwhelming concensus of community feedback.
>Furthermore, the inquiry to the community had nothing to
>do with this, and the proposals reflected in that inquiry
>provide *full* support for all XML Schema datatypes.

I think it's worth recapping how we got to the current point of debate.

This is, of course, a personal interpretation and I'd be happy to be 
corrected by others.

Following Brian's question to the wider community, it seemed clear that we 
were *not* going to get a clear answer to the point we were trying to 
resolve.  To my view, and I think to that of others, there is no clear 
consensus concerning the tidy vs untidy question.

Thus, we were in danger of creating a recommendation about a matter whose 
ramifications are not adequately understood.  In such circumstances, it is 
better to be less ambitious -- better to leave something (clearly) 
unspecified than wrongly specified.

Next, it seemed that there *is* consensus about the meaning of:

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

i.e. the so-called "local idiom".  It is the global idiom that is proving 
difficult to pin down.  Maybe, we are chasing a chimera and shouldn't even 
try to realize that (global datatyping) form, however attractive its 
attributes may appear.

Further, this "local idiom" doesn't require any change to the basic RDF 
model theory, (other than possibly to note the data type mapping is fixed 
separately from the rest of the interpretion).

At the last teleconference, it was pointed out (and generally accepted) 
that to publish an RDF recommendation without a good account of how to deal 
with something as pervasive as numbers would be a grave disservice to the 
RDF community as a whole.

This is roughly the point at which you have rejoined the debate, at a time 
when the choice between the triple-based local idiom, and extending the 
notion of literals to include well-defined denotations of numbers (and 
maybe other values) as well as strings, has not been finally nailed 
down.  (But I think the group is leaning toward the notion of extended 
literals -- that's the essence of Sergey's proposal.)

>The WG has *agreed* that any deviations from the stake-in-the-ground
>proposal would be motivated by clear technical and practical
>considerations -- i.e. fatal flaws or errors in the proposal.

This is a change of tack from what we were trying to do previously, and one 
which is motivated by a very strong technical and practical 
considerations:  without cutting back the scope of the problem in this way, 
it is likely that this working group will never finish.  More than anything 
now, we need to finish.

Yes, there are details to iron out, but compared with what we were trying 
to do they are small details.  If we get them wrong, the result will be 
some small inconvenience rather than possible severe damage to the whole 
RDF framework.

And I think the "stake in the ground" still remains:  I think nothing we're 
trying to do now is inconsistent with the stake-in-ground principles, but 
we are trying to do less so the full reach of that stake may not be needed.


PS: looking back, I suspect Brian foresaw much of this back in Cannes, when 
he suggested concentrating on the "local idiom".

Graham Klyne
Received on Thursday, 8 August 2002 11:37:32 UTC

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