Rdf Triples

A set of RdfTriples for RDF (ResourceDescriptionFramework) can be given a fairly straightforward representation in a relational database.

- For many developers it appears that one must make a "trade-off" between flexibility and data integrity.

It seems to me this reflects a weakness in one's ability to declare data integrity constraints in the common relational systems, not a necessary trade off between flexibility and integrity.

I'd want to use typed objects, predictates, and subjects. Objects and subjects of a predicate may be classified (e.g. colours, emotions, identifiers, etc.) Predicates can be typed as functions (e.g. identifier->colour->bool). The types themselves are metadata that can also be included in the database and indexed to the need. (<identifier>,PredicateOfType?,<function-type>). (<identifier>,ClassifiedAs?,<class>). (<identifier>,ClassWith?,<property | constraint>), etc. You do need a little information to bootstrap the system, such as how constraints specified upon classes are applied in the database, and either proving or testing whether they continue to apply before and after transactions.

In any case, data integrity constraints in most complex languages are handled by a good typing system. Even the English language uses classifications to the point that we reject statements about green or furious triangles. Why not do the same here? We can't expect sense out of computers where we don't allow it to be programmed into them.

Please see SemanticWebLayerCake for a discussion of this issue. The issue of the classification of the predicates can be handled by an RdfSchema. One example of this is DublinCore, which defines commonly used terms such as title. I think that the issue of trust has to be handled in a layer of software which sits on top of RDF and contains meanings expressed in ontologies such as OWL (WebOntologyLanguage). There can then be a layer with a capability of reasoning about the data. -- JohnFletcher



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