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Re: Relating hydra:Classes to hydra:IriTemplates

From: Jindřich Mynarz <mynarzjindrich@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:17:10 +0200
Message-ID: <CAE=8Bu9byDTbA5FFuX-ziy0g_ZdkWz_uGNN2QB37LuonhbwYaA@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-hydra@w3.org
Hi,

On Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 10:26 PM, Markus Lanthaler
<markus.lanthaler@gmx.net> wrote:
>> I was thinking about describing a simple search API in Hydra. I
>> started with a description of an API that allows to search for
>> resources regardless of their type via free-text queries. I found out
>> that Hydra allows to link to hydra:IriTemplate from
>> hydra:ApiDocumentation via hydra:entrypoint:
>
> How did you find that out? I assume you saw that the range of entrypoint is hydra:Resource and that a IriTemplate is a subclass of hydra:Resource, right?

Yes. I was thinking that it's likely not how hydra:entrypoint was
intended to be used, but since it's rdfs:range is set to generic
hydra:Resource, I thought it's permissible. As the Hydra specification
says, hydra:entrypoint links to "the main entry point of the Web API",
which is why I think that if the described simple search functionality
was the main (and maybe only) service provided by an API, then it
would warrant linking it via hydra:entrypoint from
hydra:ApiDocumentation.

> It's not really how I intended it to be used. The entrypoint property is there to point to, well, the API's main entry point. Think of it as the home link that you can find on almost any website. In that spirit, you would rather do something like this:
>
>   :simple-search-api a hydra:ApiDocumentation ;
>     hydra:entrypoint </> .
>
>   </> hydra:search [
>     a hydra:IriTemplate ;
>     hydra:template "/search{?q}" ;
>     hydra:mapping [
>         a hydra:IriTemplateMapping ;
>         hydra:variable "q" ;
>         hydra:property hydra:freetextQuery ;
>         hydra:required true
>       ] .
>     ] .

I see. It might be that I've omitted the root (</>) resource linked
via hydra:entrypoint because the Hydra vocabulary doesn't have an
explicit concept of an entry point, such as schema:EntryPoint. I don't
think there necessarily needs to be such concept in Hydra, but a
little more guidance in the specification as to what is the intended
rdfs:range of hydra:entrypoint would help.

I also thought if hydra:ApiDocumentation can also be an entry point,
so that the entry point is made self-describing, along these lines:

:simple-search-api a hydra:ApiDocumentation ;
  hydra:entrypoint :simple-search-api .

But then I thought that hydra:ApiDocumentation and the class of
resources intended to be used as entry points are probably meant to
serve different purposes.

>> Then I thought how to describe a similar simple search but restricted
>> to instances of a specified class. I assume this can be done via
>> hydra:supportedClass. For example, if an API offers a search for
>> instances schema:Person, then I presume schema:Person can be described
>> as hydra:supportedClass:
>>
>> :simple-search-api a hydra:ApiDocumentation ;
>>   hydra:supportedClass schema:Person .
>
> Sure, you can state this. But it doesn't restrict the query to instances of that class.

So if I wanted to hint that HTTP GET of the search hydra:IriTemplate
returns a hydra:Collection of schema:Person, I'd need to use
hydra:returns schema:Person instead? How would I use hydra:returns
with a hydra:IriTemplate?

>> Or instead, is it necessary to attach :simple-search-person-template
>> to :SimpleSearchPerson through hydra:supportedOperation? Relating
>> hydra:Classes to hydra:IriTemplates is probably the part which is the
>> most unclear to me.
>
> I would model this by creating a collection containing persons and then attaching :simple-search-person-template via hydra:search to that collection.

How would a client discover search functionality described in this way
without first dereferencing the collection containing persons? How
would you describe it in hydra:ApiDocumentation or link it from an
entry point?

>> However, then I wondered if it's correct to reuse schema:Person
>> directly and attach to it API-specific hydra:Operations. Is it better
>> to define an API-specific subclass of the extended class, to which
>> operations are attached? This seems to be a better approach, since the
>> API likely doesn't support all instances of schema:Person, but only an
>> API-specific subset of schema:Persons.
>
> Yeah, generally speaking it is better to model things this way.
>
>
>> :simple-search-api a hydra:ApiDocumentation ;
>>   hydra:supportedClass :SimpleSearchPerson .
>>
>> :SimpleSearchPerson a hydra:Class ;
>>   rdfs:subClassOf schema:Person .
>>
>> Is this a recommended approach in Hydra how to reuse third-party
>> vocabularies and extend them with local assertions?
>
> We haven't decided that yet. Local assertions are easier to understand and use but pollute everyone's data if you are not careful. It is a trade-off. An alternative would be to use a similar pattern as the one we use with SupportedProperty.

So both you and Gregg (as indicated in his mail in this thread) are in
favour of not reusing third-party classes directly, but rather minting
their API-specific subclasses?

I think it may not cause problems if API consumers keep the API
description data separate (in a separate named graph if they happen to
be using an RDF store), so that local assertions about reused classes
don't "leak" into other data and aren't used to produce any inferences
when combined with external data. Renaming hydra:Class to
hydra:SupportedClass and adding hydra:class property to link to the
reused class might also be an option.

- Jindřich

-- 
Jindřich Mynarz
http://mynarz.net/#jindrich
Received on Monday, 16 June 2014 08:17:58 UTC

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