Re: about vs. ID

From: pat hayes (
Date: 01/09/01

Mike Dean wrote:
>My opinion (written before Frank's latest message):
>I used only about= in most of the DAML I've generated, but
>have come to believe that ID= is the preferred idiom
>(especially for Classes and Properties).  ID= simplifies
>the naming issues and signals the author's intent that this
>is the "primary" definition of the object.  Conversely,
>about= signals the author's intent that he is making an
>assertion about "someone else's" object.

I think this gets to the heart of the issue. Is such an 'intent' 
actually meaningful in the language? Does it have any semantic 
content? If not, then it is probably a mistake to give users the 
impression that they are signalling something that they are in fact 
not saying, even if it makes them feel better.  Either they should be 
told clearly that the apparent distinction isnt in fact a meaningful 
distinction, or else the language should be modified so that the 
distinction they want to make is in fact reflected in the semantics 

>Two IDs can exist for a given URI only in the same page.  A
>DAML Validator should issue a warning if multiple IDs exist
>for the same name.  It should also probably suggest that
>  about="#name"
>be replaced with
>  ID="name"
>I think DAML+OIL should continue to support both ID= and
>about= and that "best practice" should encourage the
>appropriate use of both.

As I understand the situation, there isnt an appropriate use for both 
right now, since they mean the same thing.


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