[rdfweb-dev] Tidy up your FOAF week - name and shame

Dan Brickley danbri at w3.org
Sun Jul 11 10:47:09 UTC 2004


* Jim Ley <jim.ley at gmail.com> [2004-07-11 11:03+0100]
> On Sun, 11 Jul 2004 07:12:11 +0100, Julian Bond
> <julian_bond at voidstar.com> wrote:
> > Use of http://xmlns.com/wordnet/1.6/Person instead of foaf:Person
> 
> This isn't wrong, foaf:Person is just a subClassOf of Wordnet Person,
> so there's nothing actually wrong with the information, they've just
> been less specific than they could've been.

It isn't logically wrong, but it isn't super-helpful either. Nobody can
stop you writing wn:Person or rdfs:Resource instead of foaf:Person, but
it is generally better to be conservative and write using the more widely 
understood idioms.  It's the "be liberal in what you accept and
conservative in what you put out" Postel thing. Publishers of FOAF
shouldn't be fancy for fancy's sake; consumers of FOAF shouldn't throw
exceptions when encountering unknown statements, nor hackparse using
regexes when they could be using RDF/XML parsers. 

The RDF/XML and FOAF specs themselves (and anything like them) can only
get us so far. Julian's suggestions are more in the space of "best
practice guidelines", rules which increase the chances of interop
amongst diverse implementations created with different priorities and
information needs. I think this is useful, and that there's a role for
formally and informally characterised profiles of FOAF. So long as (and
here I agree with you) we remain clear that these are only best-practice
guidelines, and that at the end of the day the core of 
FOAF is a dictionary of terms for use in RDF/XML data, and that
different kinds of applications will have widely varying perspectives on
which of those terms could/should/must be used in different classes of
document.

cheers,

Dan



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