W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > February 2001

Re: Dropping the redundant colon in N3

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 16:04:46 -0500
Message-ID: <028001c09080$79892aa0$0301a8c0@w3.org>
To: "Bill de hOra" <bill@dehora.fsnet.co.uk>, "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com>, "Seth Russell" <seth@robustai.net>, "RDF-IG" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill de hOra" <bill@dehora.fsnet.co.uk>
To: "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>; "Sean B. Palmer"
<sean@mysterylights.com>; "Seth Russell" <seth@robustai.net>; "RDF-IG"
<www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2001 12:47 PM
Subject: RE: Dropping the redundant colon in N3


>
> : This is a good point.  The colons  drive most right-minded people
> : crazy, unless one is mixing languages anyway in which case
> : the prefixes help.
>
> If the concern really is typographic why not use postfixes? Put the
markers at
> the end of a word. There's also lots of scope for using whitespace and
newlines
> as proper delimiters, Example using a quote instead of colons:
>
> Seth'
> thinksCool'  N3'
>        properName' "Seth Russell"
>        fopl:mailbox "mailbox:seth@robustai.net"
>        lookingFor'  [<who:Programmer#x wantsToProgram' SemBrowser']
>
> N3' primerAt'  http://www.w3.org/2000/10/swap/Primer.html
>
>
> I think that was very readable, but then I would :). More importantly it's
> machine readable.
>
>
> : The problem is this.  There is a clash with keywords.  There are of
course
> : a limited number of keywords, such as bind, @prefix, a, has, of, to
which
> : I am tempted to add with time (which?...).  Any language which uses
> : a set of special keywords in a space of identifiers open to the
> : user has a problem with evolution,  If I allowed unprefixed identifiers
> : now then any keyword I add later could invalidate old N3 documents.
> : One possibility, rather clumsy, was for unprefixed names to be
unavailable
> : unless the document declares exactly which keywords it will use.
> :
> : @keywords a, has, which, of .
> : x a rfd:Class. y a x.
>
> This looks vaguely like Prolog keyword creation (Prolog also requires
relative
> precedence to be defined). It might seem clumsy, but it makes for highly
> readable code (though there can be a tendency to read in your
understanding of a
> term rather than the machine's, but that's a feature of human readable
syntax
> :).  If you are ging this way, why not define a :keyword keyword and let
people
> build statement assertions about N3 keywords. That seems self-describing
and
> keywords can have properties attached to them .

The idea of the language is that everything should be expressable in
properties except
the very few basic rules of syntax which get it off the ground.  Of these,
the oft used ones
should have a simple short notation like "[]" or "a" and the others a
notation which doesn't
get in the way of everything e;lse (like @prefix).  I was thinking of "@"
like inCSS
(or # in cpp) as reserved escpae for new reserved words.

So I wouldn't want a keyword to be added unless it ads something you really
couldn't do before, as {} do.

I think for example that something for the current context might be needed.

> -Bill
>
Received on Tuesday, 6 February 2001 16:00:14 GMT

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