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Re: xml:lang [was Re: Outstanding Issues ]

From: Patrick Stickler <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 18:07:14 +0200
To: ext Brian McBride <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, Dave Beckett <dave.beckett@bristol.ac.uk>
CC: RDF Core <w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B88F0A52.E13C%patrick.stickler@nokia.com>
On 2002-02-12 13:44, "ext Brian McBride" <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com> wrote:

> Hi Patrick,
> At 12:00 12/02/2002 +0200, Patrick Stickler wrote:
>> On 2002-02-12 11:48, "ext Brian McBride" <bwm@hplb.hpl.hp.com> wrote:
>>> However, I do not consider, "because
>>> Patrick says so" to be a good reason.
>> Tut, tut, Brian. Never expected you to.
> I note that you have not responded to the following:
> However, I would ask the WG, whether they feel that they would owe me, and
> other developers, an explanation for why, having gone to the trouble of
> implementing the spec correctly, we should be asked to change our code.


> and
> I have not seen anything in what you have written that comes close to an
> explanation of why this change would be a good thing. If there is something
> I have missed, then could I trouble you please to repeat it, or to provide
> a reference.

>> If literals are pairings of string and language, then let's
>> represent them that way everywhere.

Because the above is not the case. No RDF parser I've used thus far
uses anything but a string representation for a literal, nor gives any
regard to xml:lang attributes. None of the examples I have ever
seen either in the rec or elsewhere has ever used a representation
other than a simple string for a literal. All of the datatyping and MT
discussions concerning literals strongly suggests the common view
that literals have simple string representation.

Now, that may simply mean that the M&S is right and everyone has
been completely ignoring it. Shame on us and a hundred lashes with
a wet towel. But if literals were structured objects,
I would expect to see implementations reflecting that (your's may
be the first and only).

That said, our options appear to be that either we

a) change to a structured representation for literals everywhere, or
b) generate triples in some fashion to capture the language context
   in the graph, or
c) say that xml:lang only lives in the XML space, for RDF parsers,
   but not in the RDF space, in the graph, for RDF applications.

Thus whether or not you would need to change your code (or everyone
else would ;-) depends on whether the M&S is kept as stated
or changed on this point.

My assertion that the M&S got it "wrong" is the expression of an
implicit common consensus based on what I see as pervasive practice
and perception that literals have simple string representation in
the graph. If there is evidence otherwise then I'm quite happy to
stand corrected (and take my wet towel lashings like a man ;-)

Is that clearer?



Patrick Stickler              Phone: +358 50 483 9453
Senior Research Scientist     Fax:   +358 7180 35409
Nokia Research Center         Email: patrick.stickler@nokia.com
Received on Tuesday, 12 February 2002 12:22:21 UTC

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