Re: rdf:value history

On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 10:24 PM, Pat Hayes <> wrote:
> A superb piece of historical scholarship.
> I would just add my own experiences and memories, which start near the end
> of Dan's history. I was recruited by Brian McBride to be the tame semantics
> maven on the RDF WG, and my role for quite a while was restricted to asking
> the rest of the group what the various RDF constructions were supposed to
> mean, intuitively, so that I could try to reproduce this understanding in
> formal terms. In most cases this was fairly straightforward, although not
> all of the result was deemed worth making normative. But rdf:value was the
> breaking point. I was never able to get any kind of clear consensus about
> what rdf:value was supposed to mean. Several group members explicitly did
> not know what it meant, and those who did gave me at least three different
> versions of it, all already, apparently, in use, all of which were sharply
> incompatible with the others. It therefore has, normatively, no normative
> meaning in RDF. I have my own opinions about this situation, but anyone who
> has read my emails can probably guess what they are.

Everyone should have a tame logician! The RDF '97-'99 specs were
somehow evocative and intriguing, rather than directly implementable.
For all their flaws today, the revised are vastly tighter and more
professional than the original that emerged from the 'browser wars'
era. For being our logic oracle, many thanks :) The rdf:value is
probably the remaining thing I'd file under "evocative". Unfortunately
it evokes different expectations in every reader!

BTW I think the combination of 'unit test' style tests cases
(, a fully in-public working group
whose workflow was based around giving such test cases a formal
grounding (and for the syntax stuff, an opensource implementation by
the spec editor)... that was a pretty innovative combination of
techniques. It might be that we weren't brave enough at the time in
cutting and tweaking the '90s inheritance, but I still generally hold
the view we'd all be better off collaborating around tools and data
than on making new specs...



Received on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 21:11:54 UTC