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Re: Proposal for clarification of RDF

From: Aaron Swartz <me@aaronsw.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 15:05:35 -0500
Message-Id: <200106212008.f5LK8HQ12574@theinfo.org>
Cc: <www-rdf-comments@w3.org>
To: "Rick Jelliffe" <ricko@allette.com.au>
On Wednesday, June 20, 2001, at 09:22  AM, Rick Jelliffe wrote:

> See attached a proposal for clarifying the syntax of RDF.

Thank you for your hard work on the proposal. Only on behalf of 
myself (not the Working Group) I have a few comments and 
questions (quotes are from your proposal):

> The current RDF Recommendation is almost impossible to 
> implement because the discipline of a DTD was not used.

Would it be acceptable to you if some other form of rigorous 
documentation was used, such as a tree grammar, canonicalized 
BNF, or XSLT? The arguments you provide for DTDs do not seem so 
strong.

> Furthermore, the advent of RDFS raises compatability issues, in 
> that certain elements are used in RDFS, but are only general 
> names in RDF.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this, but it seems to be a 
misunderstanding of the RDF spec. RDF can take any type of 
element name and still generates triples -- RDFS simply uses 
this extensibility mechanism like any other vocabulary would. 
Why are there compatibility issues?

> It regularizes the use of namespaces and prefixes: when used on 
> an element which has an rdf: prefix, rdf attributes must _not_ 
> themselves have a namespace prefix; when used on an element 
> which does not have an RDF prefix, the rdf attributes _must_ 
> have a prefix.

This goes against the WG's recent decision to always require a 
namespace prefix.

> It promotes the elements named in RDFS but not RDF into 
> first-class citizens.

Why would you want this? Isn't it at the expense of all the 
vocabularies which don't happen to be W3C RECs?

> 	<!ENTITY % rdf-alt-syntax-atts
> 	'        rdf:_1 CDATA #IMPLIED

Your schema seems to only allow 8 rdf:_n attributes. Isn't this 
a serious limitation that is not in the spec?

Your DTD also seems to be extremely incomplete. I am no DTD 
expert, but there are a number of strange and wacky RDF 
syntactic constructs that you do not seem to conver, nor do you 
seem able to specify RDF's openness for all sorts of elements 
and attributes.

So what are your thoughts on other forms of representation?
--
[ "Aaron Swartz" ; <mailto:me@aaronsw.com> ; <http://www.aaronsw.com/> ]
Received on Thursday, 21 June 2001 16:05:37 GMT

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