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Re: [ontac-forum] Result of vote: Type

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 18:37:30 -0500
Message-id: <43D568BA.3010004@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

Mathematicians have had a long tradition of using
one-character symbols and variable names.  That
practice was adopted for APL and Z -- and that is
one reason why nonmathematicians hate those languages.    (02)

In programming languages, COBOL began the practice
of having very long terms, and the W3C has pushed
that practice to its ultimate absurdity.  I'm
just grateful that SGML had standardized <p> for
"paragraph" before the W3C got hold of it.    (03)

I believe we need a balance -- very short names
and symbols for the most common operators, and
longer, but not absurdly long names for less
common operators.    (04)

 > subtype (I prefer the verbal isaSubtypeOf)
 > instance-of  (I prefer the verbal isanInstanceOf)    (05)

This distinction is so central that the shortest
possible notation is the best.  In conceptual graphs,
the type label goes on the left side of the box, and
the instance name or indexical goes on the right:    (06)

    "cat Yojo" -> [Cat: Yojo]    (07)

    "the cat" -> [Cat: #]    (08)

I would strongly suggest the shortest possible notations
for such operators.  For subtype, I recommend "<":    (09)

    Beagle < Dog < Mammal < Vertebrate < Animal    (010)

For use in web pages, "<" could be entered as &lt;
for "proper subtype", and &le; for "subtype or equal".
The supertype and proper supertype symbols would be
&ge; and &gt;.    (011)

Algol 68 used the notation "x::t" for an instance x that
conforms to the type t, as in    (012)

    Yojo::Cat  or  Snoopy::Beagle    (013)

If we adopt these symbols, people who don't like the
word 'type' don't have to use it (or even think it).    (014)

Less common names should be longer, more common ones
should be shorter.    (015)

John    (016)

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