W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > January 2002

Re: rdf-ns-prefix-confusion

From: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 21:27:11 -0700
Message-Id: <200201110427.g0B4RBP09350@localhost.localdomain>
To: "Jonathan Borden" <jborden@mediaone.net>
cc: "Jeremy Carroll" <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, "www-rdf-interest" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
> Uche Ogbuji wrote:
> > >
> > > If unqualified attributes are allowed then there is a specific problem
> with
> > > cases where the element is not qualified in the RDF namespace.
> >
> > Unqualified attributes should only be allowed on elements that *are* in
> the
> > RDF namespace.  This is the XSLT approach (see literal result element as
> > stylesheet, in particular)
> >
> > So, no more problem, yes?
> The problem is that elements qualified by the RDF namespace and elements not
> qualified by the RDF namespace must then be treated differently.

I don't see this as a problem.  Why would it be?  It allows the most natural 
usage where possible (i.e. when using RDF-specific elements), but allows clean 
semantics where this more natural expression is not wanted.

The main thing I dislike about the idea of "always qualify attrs" is that it 
leads to unnatural expression (this is, of course, IMO) in the common case of 
using RDF elements.

> Try this: write out a grammar that allows your proposal, you will find that
> it is simpler to qualify the RDF attribute names.

No need.  It is just obvious that there would be fewer lines/productions in 
the grammar using only qualified attributes.  I think this is hugely 
irrelevant.  The Python grammar is vastly more complex than the grammar for C, 
but guess which language most users tend to prefer actually *using*?

I have written RDF processors in Python and XSLT, and all of them allow 
unqualified attrs in the case of using RDF elements, and mandate qualification 
otherwise.  I can honestly say that this detail barely added a few minutes to 
the efforts.

> It is simpler to have a single attribute name for a single use, e.g.
> rdf:resource, rdf:ID, rdf:about, to be used regardless of the namespace of
> the enclosing element.

Maybe simpler for the RDF processor writer (though I'd argue that there is 
enough difference in difficulty to even merit consideration).  However, I 
prefer to consider what's more natural for the user, which is why I've taken 
my position.

> > > C: the reserved attribute names in an RDF/XML document always have their
> > > special meaning, whatever the namespace of the element.
> >
> > Oh, but this would be beyond horrible. ... I'm not sure how C could ever
> come into
> > sane contemplation.  ;-)
> what is so horrible? You should never get too attached to the name for a
> thing, its just a name. Nothing bad will happen if you utter it.

Interesting comment.  I think there is a cultural difference here.  I take 
names *very* seriously, whether in comp sci, in literature, in personal 
relationships, etc.

But if no one is seriously advocating C, then no need to get into philosophy, 

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 303 583 9900 x 101
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com 
4735 East Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
XML strategy, XML tools (http://4Suite.org), knowledge management
Received on Thursday, 10 January 2002 23:31:39 UTC

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