[rdfweb-dev] XSLTs for FOAF, Spring v1.3.1 and plans for FOAF spec improvements

Ian Davis iand at internetalchemy.org
Tue Jun 24 15:44:50 UTC 2003

On Tuesday, 24 June 2003 at 15:52, Leigh Dodds wrote:
> Hi Dan,

>> So, (i) is inevitable. 

> Makes sense

>> Re (ii), vocabulary stability and confusion, I have a plan(!). Rather than 
>> worry whether FOAF itself is 'stable' or not, I intend to tag each vocabulary 
>> item with 'stable','unstable','testing'. For eg., 'foaf:homepage' is stable;
>> 'foaf:surname' is unstable; much of the rest is 'testing'. More on this in due
>> course. I hope this should clear up some concerns folk have w.r.t. deployability
>> of different bits of FOAF vocab.

> I think thats a good idea: if we can't version the schema without stifling 
> experimentation then going down a level and marking the stability of the 
> individual properties allows much more freedom.

> Presumably you were planning to annotate the FOAF schema with these 
> additional properties, allowing us to auto-generate docs describing the 
> stable/unstable/testing profiles?

>> Re (iii), variation in the sense of their being different XML ways of writing
>> down the same RDF claims (triples) about the world. This is something which 
>> RDF-based implementors barely encounter as a problem, but which can be 
>> frustrating for those using XSLT and XML-level tools. I would like to do something
>> to improve this situation.

> Agreed. Being able to hack on this data with multiple tools seems good to me.

> How about two profiles:

> + "App FOAF" is for passing between RDF applications, allows the full range of 
>    RDF syntax, etc.

> + "User FOAF" is more person friendly, is XSLT consumable, hand-craftable, etc.
>    Skimming through the XSLT files you linked to looks like they're pretty reliant 
>    on the kind of FOAF document generated by the FOAF-a-Matic (oops! :). Mark 
>    2 uses Jena for exporting the data and the output is slightly different (Jena seems 
>    to prefer properties as attributes rather than sub-elements, in some cases; but 
>    this can be cleanly handled with appropriate XSLT templates).
Actually I'm of the opinion that full RDF is easier to write and
clearer to read. I can separate information about different people and
things into logical areas within the document and then cross-referenc
them. Easier than the endless nesting of standard XML. Of course, I'm
in the minority here, as I'm told every now and then by various
individuals :)

There could be a canonical interchange RDF format that is consumable
by standard XSLT. Perhaps no typed nodes, no attributes other than in
the rdf or xml namespaces, no collections, no nesting (i.e. one level
only of rdf:Description - use rdf:resource to link instead)

OMG it's RPV all over again :o

- Ian <iand at internetalchemy.org>
"Comments lie. Code doesn't."

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