W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-comments@w3.org > April 2013

Re: Turtle implementation report for RDF::Trine

From: Eric Prud'hommeaux <eric@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2013 17:25:02 -0400
To: David Robillard <d@drobilla.net>
Cc: Gregory Williams <greg@evilfunhouse.com>, David Wood <david@3roundstones.com>, public-rdf-comments@w3.org
Message-ID: <20130427212500.GA11181@w3.org>
* David Robillard <d@drobilla.net> [2013-04-27 14:25-0400]
> On Thu, 2013-04-25 at 17:23 +0800, Gregory Williams wrote:
> > Dave,
> > 
> > Another follow-up on this issue:
> > 
> > On Apr 17, 2013, at 10:22 PM, David Wood <david@3roundstones.com> wrote:
> > 
> > > There is a note in ISSUE-1 that shows that the SPARQL 1.1 syntax was "practically frozen" by the time the RDF working group was established (23 Feb 2011, 16:28:05).  Unfortunately for Turtle syntax, we had very little ability to change SPARQL.
> > > 
> > > There is also a note that the working group resolved that SPARQL and Turtle syntax should be "the same except for well-motivated (and small) exceptions." (resolved at 13 Oct 2011, 17:24:43 UTC)
> > > 
> > > Both of those notes suggest @prefix and PREFIX syntax alignment.
> > 
> > The early discussion of ISSUE-1 seems to be only about the triple(-pattern) syntaxes of Turtle and SPARQL. In fact, Richard Cyganiak brought this up explicitly by saying "The resolution wast that the *triple pattern syntax* should be the same … This shouldn't be understood to include BASE and PREFIX, I think" [1]. Which got agreement from at least Sandro[2]. At some point people started discussing PREFIX and BASE again, but it's not clear to me that any resolution of ISSUE-1 or its motivation that triple-pattern syntaxes be aligned should have bearing on this issue.
> > 
> > I certainly don't think that arguing that the WG resolution to align the triple pattern syntaxes should outweigh what is, in my opinion, a valid technical and usability argument against having two separate syntaxes for PREFIX and BASE. Especially when there wasn't exactly overwhelming support for adding this to the spec to begin with. Looking at the 16 May 2012 minutes[3], I see 11 of 17 abstaining (0) votes, 3 votes for (with an additional +0.2) and 2 votes against (-0.999 and -0.7). (I'm not going to try to parse the difference between people's using signed zeros.)
> Exactly.  There are certainly things about the triple syntax I don't
> like at all (path query idiocy), but aligning those is a reasonable
> thing to do and I support it despite the ugliness.  That is "aligning":
> making the two very similar things equivalent.
> However adding new redundant directive syntax isn't; there is no
> existing practice this breakage fixes, and it should be pretty obvious
> that having redundant and inconsistent forms for the same thing in a
> language is not so great.  There is no alignment because the old forms
> aren't going anywhere, there is only cruft - cruft which implementations
> clearly should not be writing in any case.
> The W3C bureaucratic process is being confused with reality too much
> here.  Turtle is an established language that has been around for many
> years; the SPARQL WG happening to finish first (not giving a damn about
> Turtle in the process) does not change that.
> It seems there is nowhere near enough support for making such a change
> to Turtle which, like it or not, has had an established single form for
> directives for years.

There is another viewpoint that you should be aware of. The "@prefix"
syntax is derivative of the generalized @keyword syntax in N3 but
Turtle doesn't use the feature at all. If we don't make some
sacrifices to encourage compatibility, we stand to frustrate potential
new users with what appears to them to be pointless syntactic
differences. I expect we all hope that future RDF users will
outnumber existing ones.

> -dr

Received on Saturday, 27 April 2013 21:25:31 UTC

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