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Re: Minutes: Syntax subgroup teleconf - Oct 26, 2001

From: Aaron Swartz <me@aaronsw.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 16:54:33 -0600
To: RDF Core <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <6A634CC0-CF1B-11D5-A47F-003065D5CE46@aaronsw.com>
On Friday, October 26, 2001, at 09:17  AM, Art Barstow wrote:

>   That we will use structured English [in the Syntax document] to
>   describe the transformation from the grammar to n-triples.  The
>   rule based formalism [done by Jeremy] will be used to verify
>   that the structured English is correct.

I apologize for my tardy reply but somehow this message escaped 
my notice.

I'm disappointed with this decision. After looking at both 
drafts, I must say that I don't think the structured English 
format will be the most useful to implementors.

We've received a lot of implementor feedback that the English 
used in the current syntax draft is unacceptable. Implementors 
have specifically requested that we publish the syntax 
specification in a machine-processable format which is widely 
implemented. XSLT, as used in Jeremy's draft, meets these 
criteria. And it's simple way of specifying transformations 
makes it easy to follow and comprehend what's happening.

Dave's draft on the other hand, even with its structured 
English, is difficult to read and understand. The structured 
English seems to have gone somewhat overboard to me, and last I 
checked, it provides no examples or concrete depictions of 
what's happening. A parser for it isn't implemented anywhere, 
and so it seems to me it isn't much improvement over what we 
have now.

I'm sorry to see an important decision like this being made at a 
telecon where not everyone was present. Dave Beckett gave me the 
impression that these syntax telecons were for low-level 
discussions of the people actually doing syntax work, and 
recommended I did not attend, so I didn't.

I'd recommend the WG take a different course of action: Use 
Jeremy's work as the normative version, and have Dave Beckett 
work on an English version for possible inclusion in the Primer.

Again, apologies for the late response... somehow this message 
appeared in the wrong place.

       "Aaron Swartz"      |              The Semantic Web
  <mailto:me@aaronsw.com>  |  <http://logicerror.com/semanticWeb-long>
<http://www.aaronsw.com/> |        i'm working to make it happen
Received on Thursday, 1 November 2001 17:54:26 UTC

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