W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-wg@w3.org > March 2011

Re: RDF-ISSUE-5 (Graph Literals): Should we define Graph Literal datatypes? [RDF Graphs]

From: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>
Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2011 19:22:59 +0000
Cc: RDF Working Group WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <A23E540A-5AA6-4429-B9C5-8A188839EA28@cyganiak.de>
To: nathan@webr3.org
On 5 Mar 2011, at 17:53, Nathan wrote:
> Named graphs are layered on to the RDF Model, not in or part of it, and they already just "existed", stick some rdf on the web and you've got a named graph, a name (uri) associated with a graph.. it wasn't exactly a case of "we have a need for this, let's do something about it" and people serendipitously coming to the same conclusion.

[boring history lesson on named graphs]

Well, once an idea is widely accepted, it's easy to dismiss it by saying, “yeah it was obvious, nothing new there, it's not like anyone had to do any work for that.”

The mainstream opinion in 2004 was that provenance in RDF is handled by reification, which had been put into the official W3C specs for that very reason.

The point of view that reification is a big mistake, and that something very different is needed, was mostly dismissed at that point. Why use something else if the official W3C spec already has a feature supporting the use case?

The only people who put RDF on the web back in 2004 were the FOAF folks. There was probably no one outside of the TAG who was familiar with both REST and RDF. The most popular Semantic Web framework of the day, Jena, didn't have anything resembling named graphs; if you wanted to retain provenance information in your models, you'd most likely reify everything (or keep everything in separate models, but then you couldn't query across them).

It required lots of hard work by many people to get the idea of named graphs off the ground. All the following stuff happened around 2004 and 2005, all outside of W3C working groups:

http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1060835
http://www.w3.org/2004/03/trix/
http://www4.wiwiss.fu-berlin.de/bizer/TriG/
http://www4.wiwiss.fu-berlin.de/bizer/TriQL/
http://www4.wiwiss.fu-berlin.de/bizer/ng4j/

This laid the groundwork for named graphs becoming sufficiently accepted that Andy and the DAWG could put it into SPARQL in 2006 or so.

>> The problem we face is that the specs are several years behind what's actually deployed and in active use. I'd prefer to see this WG spending its time on dragging the specs forward to catch up with reality as deployed and in active use. This WG is simply the wrong venue for speculating about the one feature that would make the whole world embrace RDF if it was added. If you have an opinion on that, then by all means round up some like-minded people and get busy coding/writing it up. That's R&D, and it's an extremely important part of advancing our case; in fact, I know that many members of this WG spend a lot of their non-WG time on this sort of activity. But standardization has to *follow* successful R&D. It cannot lead it.
> 
> but yes, I agree with the principals of standardization, there must be something that needs standardized.. like say rdf, sparql, n3, amord in rdf ... would they be good examples?

RDF and SPARQL are already standards, so I don't know why you bring them up here.

The community reaction to N3 was to throw away the non-RDF bits and to retain the RDF-compatible subset. That subset has become wildly popular. Many prefer it over the official W3C recommended syntax. In all these years, the extra bits of N3 have caught on only with a handful of people.

AMORD in RDF is certainly interesting. Looks like it's been around for two years. How much uptake has it seen?

Nathan, you think that you know what people need. You think that you can predict the future. To you it's obvious that if only we standardized X, then RDF adoption would skyrocket. But I don't trust your judgement on this, nor anyone else's crystal ball gazing. I believe that our work in this WG should be guided by the available deployment+uptake experience: implementations with happy users; companies that have put their money where their mouth is; the millions of files that actually have been put on the Web; the threads on jena-dev or Semantic Overflow where dozens and dozens of RDF newbies stumble over the same problems.

We have a charter that cuts out the work for us. Most of it is rather boring -- agreeing on terminology and syntax; updating RFC references; sorting out shitty details like the scope of blank nodes and so on. Can we please just do that stuff and leave the crystal balls over on semantic-web or public-lod?

Thanks,
Richard
Received on Saturday, 5 March 2011 19:24:35 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 17:04:03 UTC