W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-ldp-wg@w3.org > November 2012

Re: forms, direction, query, etc

From: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2012 13:23:29 +0100
Cc: Linked Data Platform Working Group <public-ldp-wg@w3.org>, Roger Menday <Roger.Menday@uk.fujitsu.com>, Olivier Berger <olivier.berger@it-sudparis.eu>
Message-Id: <400ACF3C-2D47-42A8-9D17-D03435D1B129@bblfish.net>
To: "Wilde, Erik" <Erik.Wilde@emc.com>
Arnaud, please excuse me for the quick sidetrack into philosophy

On 23 Nov 2012, at 18:59, "Wilde, Erik" <Erik.Wilde@emc.com> wrote:

> hello henry.
> On 2012-11-21 01:22 , "Henry Story" <henry.story@bblfish.net> wrote:
>> In the thread on ISSUE-33 on pagination the mention of  SPARQL was there
>> to help explain the relation between forms and queries using a well
>> understood standard. The counter argument by Eric Wilde came
>> in three parts
>> 1- forms are not queries to the user
>> 1. is simply wrong. It is quite obvious that forms are asking something
>> of the user.
>>    That answering a question can have additional impact ( such as
>> answer yes to the question: "do you want to buy this book") does not deny
>> that it is not a question
> you're mincing words here. a form-based *question* is a simple thing that
> does not require any agreement beyond that specific question. if i ask you
> "which page of the query results do you want?", then all you can do is say
> "42". the contract is simple.

"Which page of the query result do you want?" is a question. When you
ask me that question you are querying me. You could ask me any number of
questions. I am really not sure how you can argue that process is simple. 
It requires:

1. for english to have evolved and stabilised its grammar and the 
  meaning of each of the words in the question "which" "page" "query"...
2. For me to understand 
   - those words and the grammar 
   - the context in which they were said... 
   - to know what I want ( eg: get page 42 )
   - to use a computer 
3. For you who asks the question to believe that the person you are asking
 is going to understand the question
4. For you to understand the answer

All that happens on forms of course every day, billions of times a day,
and is very successful. Huge economies are built on the ability of people
to read and respond to forms.

It of course took a lot of time to build up the human knowledge to do that,
so that human brains could be relied on to be wired correctly for those 
expectations to exist. It took the 20th century mass education
to get people to read, the militarisation and grammatization of the economy,
the massive growth of computers and the internet, etc for this to take place.

Bernard Stiegler's keynote at WWW2012 in Lyon this year covers this process
of mass grammatisation
his accent is a bit difficult to follow so you can read the text here
( he gets there slowly )

> a *query* is an expression in a rather complex language that operates on a
> general-purpose metamodel and requires agreement on the metamodel, the
> model that's used by the client and the server, and the query language
> itself. it's a very different kind of contract.

You just ignored the complexity of what is needed for human communication
to take place, and then of course you can make anything seem complex in

The parallels are clear:
 1. in current html forms we use the fact that humans brains have been
  wired through education in the 20th century to read forms, by evolution
  to understand language etc... in order to ask questions
 2. a general ( but easy to specify ) query language would allow one to 
  annotate the questions that are asked to users every day in such a way
  as to make them understandable by machines - eg your browser. We would 
  just need to make it possible for software to understand the given 
  vocabulary then.

> there are of course some similarities, but saying that these two things
> are the same is quite a stretch.

That is because you fail to take the human into account when you think of
html forms. You completely ignore the agent answering the question.

>> 2- forms are templates
>> 2. is true. Forms are templates but so are queries.
> in one case you're asking a specific question, in the other one you're
> executing an expression that requires agreement on metamodel, model, and
> query language capabilities. very different things in terms of contract
> complexity.

There is no difference, other than of course the one that is relevant
and that is that we can mechanise the answering of questions by machines.

The advantage to this group is that we then only need to agree on a paging
vocabulary. The rest can be done with whatever we wish to call these thing:
RDF Forms perhaps, Turtle Forms?

>> 3- semantics in forms is too complicated to implement
>>    a-  client side
>>    b-  server side
>> 3. complexity is a relative thing
>>  a. the difficulty of implementing form understanding client side
>> depends  on the complexity
>>     of the query language - and that is as you point out not specified
>> yet - it could be very simple.
> yes, and the simplest language you can use is to use forms (and the web
> itself with all the thriving form/template-based web services out there
> seems to indicate that this doesn't seem to be such a bad design choice).
> the most complex language choice for us is to use SPARQL (client-side!).
> you seem to propose that there is something in the middle that does not
> have the complexity of SPARQL, but yet is more powerful than simple forms.
> you may be right, but i am not aware of such a language, and it is not our
> WG's job to design such a language. but if there is such a language that
> we can readily use, then we should consider it.

Ok, so we agree here "If there is such a language we can readily use then we
should consider it".

> cheers,
> dret.

Social Web Architect

Received on Saturday, 24 November 2012 12:24:05 UTC

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