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Rename @prefix

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 14:44:35 -0400
Message-Id: <4BD1EA93.80702@w3.org>
To: public-rdfa@w3.org
(Mail has been sent to public-rdfa, I redirect this to the WG list for proper archival as a FPWD comment. Ivan.)

Hi, folks-

I raised this once before in the public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf mailing list [1], but I haven't seen any follow-up, and I wondered if there had been any discussion.

Quite apart from any issues about whether the 'prefix' attribute is the right mechanism, it is a confusing and unintuitive attribute name.  It describes a syntactic convention, not the underlying concept which is its true function.

Consider this hypothetical alternate way of establishing a namespace scope (in ad-hoc pseudo-code):

with: "http://example.org/schema/"
 property: type; content: "definition";
 property: heading; content: "abstract";
 property: body; content: "generalized by reducing the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon";

In this syntax, I've established that the 'type', 'heading', and 'body' properties are to be evaluated in the context of the example.org schema resource.  This is essentially what CURIEs, namespaces, etc. do, using the syntax 'prefix:subject|object|predicate'.

My point is that 'prefix' is a term that only represents how a particular syntactic convention represents the data, and is too far abstracted from the *meaning* of the mechanism: to point to a resource in which the terms in question are evaluated, and which distinguishes them from the same term (as a string) used in another context. This makes it harder to explain or to learn, needlessly.

My suggestions for a more accurate attribute name are:

* 'ontology'
* 'context'
* 'scope'
* 'reference'
* 'model'

... or anything similar.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf/2009Jul/0140.html

-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG and WebApps WGs

Received on Saturday, 24 April 2010 06:44:24 UTC

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