W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > January 2010

Re: Alternatives to containers/collections (was Re: Requirements for a possible "RDF 2.0")

From: Graham Klyne <GK-lists@ninebynine.org>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 09:55:25 +0000
Message-ID: <4B52DE8D.1020607@ninebynine.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
CC: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Pat Hayes wrote:
> But some of it IS broken. The plain-literal/xsd:string mixup is broken. 
> The special status of rdf:XMLLiteral is broken. Containers are broken, 
> they were broken from the get-go. (Not collections, ie lists, which are 
> ugly but useful.) IMO, rdf:seeAlso is broken, because although it does 
> get used, the uses are nowhere even remotely compatible with one 
> another. Reification is broken, because it has never been given a 
> satisfactory semantics. (I would bet a good beer that there isn't a 
> single deployed use of RDF reification that strictly conforms to what 
> the spec says about it, normatively.) Arguably, the whole business of 
> D-interpretations for datayping is broken: not because its actually 
> wrong, but because nobody pays it any attention. What everyone actually 
> does is simply assume that the XML schema datatypes are built-in as a 
> part of RDF, which is probably what we should have said in the spec 
> itself, instead of trying to be "general-purpose" about datatyping. IMO, 
> the RDF/RDFS distinction is broken, but maybe we should just not go 
> there, I admit.

I guess it depends what one means by "broken" .  There's surely a lot that's 
sub-optimal, or just unusable.  But taken as a whole, none of these problems 
seem (so far) to be so serious that it stops us doing stuff.

I think the problem features largely fall into two areas:

(a) stuff that isn't used (much) - these might be candidates for "quiet 
deprecation", whatever that is :)

(b) stuff that is useful but messy in RDF syntax, but which can be handled by 
underlying implementations in cleaner ways (D-interpretations might be a case in 
point here).

In the spirit of the original proposal, I don't think either of these kinds of 
problem are broken to the extent that they *need* fixing - yet.  I think that, 
when we better understand how SWeb applications actually come together, we may 
be better positioned to review the underpinnings more usefully.

One area that I think might be worth revisiting sooner is the semantics, 
approached in the spirit of your ISWC presentation, as I can see that getting 
that right might save a lot of hassle in the future.

#g
Received on Sunday, 17 January 2010 10:08:42 UTC

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