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Re: Designing a Linked Data developer experience

From: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2018 09:50:07 +0100
Cc: Richard Light <richard@light.demon.co.uk>, "semantic-web@w3.org" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-Id: <19A84D3E-B69C-467A-9798-9E983C9DC965@w3.org>
To: Austin Wright <aaa@bzfx.net>
Hi Austin,

> On 30 Dec 2018, at 09:09, Austin Wright <aaa@bzfx.net <mailto:aaa@bzfx.net>> wrote:
> 

<snip>

> 
> 
> And we have had some specifications to this effect. As early as 2012 we had the RDFa API <https://www.w3.org/TR/rdfa-api/ <https://www.w3.org/TR/rdfa-api/>>, for example.
> 
> I do think there’s an important need for tooling and libraries. But I think the use case differs in small but significant ways from the DOM API.
> 
> We should look closely at use-cases for an RDF API… are they similar to the use cases for the DOM API?

I think we do. 

First of all, I do not fully agree with:

> The reason we have a DOM API is to have a standard way to expose the browser’s DOM to scripts.

This is obviously an important use case, but it goes beyond that. The DOM API is to handle any kind of XML data and, to the point, from any type of programming language. I did a bunch of programming in Python at some point (e.g., an RDFa extractor, but also things that were not HTML related) and the fact that there is a standard DOM API specification implemented in Python libraries meant that I could easily handle the underlying data was a huge win. There are other types of libraries providing access to XML data in a more 'python specific' way, but the DOM API meant an easy move from one environment to the other. These standards also mean the portability of programmers and not only the portability of programs, which is also important:-)

I did look, at some point, at libraries for RDF in different languages (JS, Python, etc) and the fact that each of them take a different approach on how to 'model', in terms of a programming language, the access and handling of RDF data becomes a drag. I "grew" into handling RDF data via Python's RDFLib, and it was a royal pain when I had to do something in Javascript where there are a number of libraries that may not be similar to the way RDFLib handles things. The 'portability of programmers' simply breaks when it comes to programmatically handle RDF data.

https://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-api/ <https://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-api/>

(note that this is not exactly the same document that the one you were quoting) was only the first attempt to write down the state of things at the time (in 2012). I know there is now a move to produce a unified library in JS (hey Ruben! :-) and I think that is a good thing. We may want, at some point, to refresh that document and turn it into a bona fide standard although, with possible changes in RDF as discussed in this thread, we may want to wait with that.

Cheers

Ivan


> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Austin.
> 
> 
>> Thanks,
>> 
>> Richard
>> 
>> [1] https://www.w3.org/community/propertygraphs/ <https://www.w3.org/community/propertygraphs/>
>>> Best,
>>> 
>>> Ruben
>>> 
>>> [1] https://ruben.verborgh.org/blog/2018/12/28/designing-a-linked-data-developer-experience/ <https://ruben.verborgh.org/blog/2018/12/28/designing-a-linked-data-developer-experience/>-- 
>> Richard Light
> 


----
Ivan Herman, W3C 
Publishing@W3C Technical Lead
Home: http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/ <http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/>
mobile: +31-641044153
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704 <https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0782-2704>


Received on Sunday, 30 December 2018 08:50:14 UTC

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