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CSV Clipboard Formats (Was: Re: Spec review request: CSV on the Web)

From: Jeni Tennison <jeni@jenitennison.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2015 13:15:17 +0100
To: Paul Libbrecht <paul@hoplahup.net>
Cc: "public-csv-wg@w3.org" <public-csv-wg@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <etPan.5540cb55.79a1deaa.d2@jenit.local>
Hi Paul,

We reviewed your comment about clipboard formats (see [1]) but as we’ve noted in discussion with you, we are not defining a media type declaration for CSV (this is out of scope for our charter) and therefore we do not intend to make any amendments to the specs as a consequence.

Could you confirm that you’re content with this so that we can close the issue?



[1] https://github.com/w3c/csvw/issues/507
Jeni Tennison

On 19 April 2015 at 12:51:49, Paul Libbrecht (paul@hoplahup.net) wrote:
> Dear Jeni and all,
> do I mistake or there is nothing about clipboard formats in this set of
> specs?
> Ideally, such would be in a media-type-declaration but it seems like the
> one here would also be suited.
> Basically: it would be clipboard flavour names for windows and UTI for OSX).
> The lack of such a convention has made it that HTML tables are sniffed
> and partially successfully copy and pasted from some browsers to some
> spreadsheets (thus far: Firefox + Excel only)... This seems to be the
> only way thus far and, indeed, xls or csv exports are pretty common as
> an extra service of web applications whereas a selection, copy, and
> paste would widely more intuitive.
> thanks in advance.
> Paul
> On 18/04/15 12:24, Jeni Tennison wrote:
> > Hello TAG,
> >
> > The CSV on the Web Working Group would like to request that the TAG review the following  
> Working Drafts:
> >
> > Model for Tabular Data and Metadata on the Web -
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-tabular-data-model-20150416/
> > Metadata Vocabulary for Tabular Data -
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-tabular-metadata-20150416/
> > Generating JSON from Tabular Data on the Web -
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-csv2json-20150416/
> > Generating RDF from Tabular Data on the Web -
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-csv2rdf-20150416/
> >
> > There are three things in particular that I’d like to draw the TAG’s attention to, where  
> we have adopted a “pragmatic” rather than “correct” design:
> >
> > 1. We have a facility to enable transformations over tabular data using templates or  
> scripts [1], to provide for transformations beyond those we’ve defined for JSON and  
> RDF. In doing this we need to be able to indicate the format of both the result of the transformation  
> and the format of the template or script that is being used.
> >
> > We think that the “correct” way of doing this would be to use media types. However, it’s  
> quite rare for templating syntaxes (such as Mustache) to have a registered media type,  
> so instead we have opted to use URLs to name those formats and encourage users to use URLs  
> in the form http://www.iana.org/assignments/media-types/{mediatype} when there  
> is a registered media type. Is this the right approach to take or should we be more insistent  
> on the use of a media type?
> >
> > 2. In the conversion to RDF, we want to use the ‘describes’ link relation defined in [2]  
> to say that a particular row in the tabular data describes a particular thing (such as  
> a person or event). Because this is RDF, the relationship has to have a URL.
> >
> > However, as has been discussed elsewhere [3], IANA registered link relations do not  
> have individual URLs and http://www.iana.org/assignments/link-relations/describes  
> doesn’t resolve. Similarly, the link relation wiki doesn’t have individual URLs for  
> link relations. We decided to create a URL for this relationship in our own namespace,  
> with a reference to the proper definition (see discussion at [4]), but hope that this  
> case might prompt the TAG to try to get some movement on this issue.
> >
> > 3. The model of access that we’re assuming for CSV and other tabular data files is that  
> someone will link directly to the CSV file (as currently) and that processors will need  
> to retrieve a metadata file about that CSV based on the location of the CSV file. Note that  
> metadata files are file-specific; we wouldn’t expect a single metadata file that includes  
> information about every CSV file on a particular site.
> >
> > We think that the “correct” way of getting this pointer to a metadata file (given that  
> there is no scope for embedding information within the CSV file itself) is to use a Link  
> header that points to the metadata file, and we have specified that here [5].
> >
> > However, we recognise that there are many publishing environments in which it is impossible  
> for users to set HTTP headers, particularly on an individual file basis. We have therefore  
> specified two other mechanisms to retrieve metadata files, used only if the URL of the  
> original CSV file doesn’t include a query string:
> >
> > * appending ‘-metadata.json’ to the end of the URL to get file-specific metadata [6]  
> > * resolving the URL ‘../metadata.json’ against the URL to get directory-level metadata  
> [7]
> >
> > Neither of these feels great: they require users who can’t use Link headers to structure  
> their URL space in particular ways, and they use string concatenation on URLs which is  
> horrible. However, we can’t see any better alternative to meet our requirement for what  
> is in effect a file-specific well known URI.
> >
> > We’d obviously welcome wider review of the documents if you have time, but these are  
> the three issues on which we’d particularly like your opinion.
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Jeni
> >
> > [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-tabular-metadata-20150416/#transformation-definitions  
> > [2] http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6892
> > [3] https://github.com/mnot/I-D/issues/39
> > [4] https://github.com/w3c/csvw/issues/297
> > [5] http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-tabular-data-model-20150416/#link-header  
> > [6] http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-tabular-data-model-20150416/#standard-file-metadata  
> > [7] http://www.w3.org/TR/2015/WD-tabular-data-model-20150416/#standard-directory-metadata  
> > --
> > Jeni Tennison
> > http://www.jenitennison.com/
> >
Received on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 12:15:38 UTC

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