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Untidy literals

From: Seth Russell <seth@robustai.net>
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 10:26:09 -0700
Message-ID: <00ed01c24eb7$ffe6e960$657ba8c0@c1457248a.sttls1.wa.home.com>
To: <www-rdf-comments@w3.org>

re: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-rdfcore-wg/2002Aug/0247.html

Where Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com says:

[[ The present situation, as I see it, is that
4. The community clearly favors untidy literals ]]

Well I was there and I certainly don't remember being asked if I favored
untidy literals or not.  I do remember being asked to choose between
mutually distasteful options.

... that being said ...

As a implementer I'm not necessarily against untidy literals, I just simply
do not understand how literals being untidy in the MT will effect my
implementation, if at all.

    How will (should) untidy literals in the MT affect an implementation of
a RDF application ??

... that being asked ....

Let me see if my application view of untidy literals matches with the WG :
I think of a literal as a fixed sequence of binary digits .. for example
'1001100110011001'  that is presented to my application as a sequence of
Unicode characters of some other such thing depending on the middleware I'm
using.  My application can store that sequence of characters in dozens of
places in memory ... in that sense I would be dealing with that literal as
untidy .. just like I deal with a bNodes.  To be efficient, (because there
are a lot of these strings and some of them are extremely long), my
application contrives to store that string just once and points to it
wherever it is used.  In that sense, may I assume that is dealing with the
literal itself as tidy.  Now I can contrive that nobody form the outside of
my application can tell whether I am doing that or not .. this I can do by
dealing with the pointers to the literals in a untidy manner.  But must I
build in this extra level of untidiness in my application?   I simply do not
know based upon the discussions I have heard.

Philosophically speaking, are literals actually untidy?  I mean every time
you encounter '1001100110011001' do you encounter the *same*
'1001100110011001'  or is it a different one?   Certainly you encounter it
in a different context, ..... yes ... but is it a different thing every time
you encounter it ?   Well,  *outside of the context of the encounter* , can
you distinguish one of the  '1001100110011001'  from another one of the
'1001100110011001'  ?

     I think not.

In fact, when you say a literal is untidy, I believe you are confusing the
mark with the use of the mark.  Isn't that distinction very much like the
distinction that  Frege introduced by distinguishing between the sense and
denotation of a name ?    I think the sense of a literal must be untidy, but
the literal itself (which sits in the model in the domain of discourse as
that thing denoted) must me be fixed and tidy.

   ... or am I confused as usual .... ?

Seth Russell
Received on Wednesday, 28 August 2002 13:26:44 UTC

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