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Document Title

Turtle: Terse RDF Triple Language

Document URI


Editor's draft for Candidate Recommendation


Last Call WD


Estimated publication date

February 12, 2013

Record of the decision to request the transition

RDF WG telecon of 12 December 2012:


CR duration period

The minimal duration for this CR period is until 26 March, 2013.


The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a general-purpose language for representing information in the Web. This document defines a textual syntax for RDF called Turtle that allows an RDF graph to be completely written in a compact and natural text form, with abbreviations for common usage patterns and datatypes. Turtle provides levels of compatibility with the existing N-Triples format as well as the triple pattern syntax of the SPARQL W3C Recommendation.


This document was published by the RDF Working Group as a Candidate Recommendation. This document is intended to become a W3C Recommendation. W3C publishes a Candidate Recommendation to indicate that the document is believed to be stable and to encourage implementation by the developer community. This Candidate Recommendation is expected to advance to Proposed Recommendation in the course of 2013. If you wish to make comments regarding this document, please send these to public-rdf-comments@w3.org (subscribe, archives). The Candidate Recommendation period ends 26 March 2013. All feedback is welcome.

This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

The following features is at risk and may be removed:

  1. In order to improve alignment Turtle with SPARQL the Working Group proposes to add the grammar productions sparqlPrefix and sparqlBase which allow for using SPARQL style BASE and PREFIX directives in a Turtle document.

Changes to the Last Call version

See: https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/rdf/raw-file/default/rdf-turtle/index.html#sec-changelog

The changes include:

  • Renaming for STRING_* productions to STRING_LITERAL_QUOTE sytle names rather than numbers
  • Local part of prefix names can now include ":"
  • Turtle in HTML
  • Renaming of grammar tokens and rules around IRIs
  • Reserved character escape sequences
  • String escape sequences limited to strings
  • Numeric escape sequences limited to IRIs and Strings
  • Support top-level blank-predicate-object lists
  • White space required between @prefix and prefix label

None of the changes made since the July 10, 2012 start of Last Call are considered to have the effect of completely invalidating any previous review of the specification.

Evidence that the document satisfies group's requirements

The requirements have not changed since the previous transition. All requirements previously satisfied remain satisfied.

Evidence that dependencies with other groups are met (or not)

The WG has aligned Turtle as much as possible with SPARQL 1.1 (ISSUE 1). SPARQL WG members have been active in the RDF WG to help in making this happen. The listed "feature at risk" is directly intended to achieve this aim to the maximum.

The Internationalization WG sent a list of comments on the LC document, which were all resolved with consensus:

Note that the Charter also refers to a dependency to the RDFa Working group's @profile mechanism. However, since the writing of the Charter, the RDFa Working Group has decided to abandon that feature, which does not appear in the RDFa 1.1 Recommendation. This dependency is, therefore, moot.

The specification has no normative reference to W3C specifications that are not yet Candidate Recommendations.

Evidence of public review

The specification has been very widely reviewed both by public commenters and by other W3C working groups. The public comments list of the WG provides evidence of this. Also, the Turtle specification has been used extensively in the SW community since the original proposal and has thus already gone through many cycles of review.

Evidence that issues have been formally addressed

The RDF WG issue tracker contains the record of decisions on Turtle issues:


All issues have been closed. None have been postponed. There are no formal objections outstanding against the Turtle specification.

Implementation Information

CR Exit Criteria:

  1. Two or more implementations should pass all the approved tests in the test suite.

Further information:

Features at risk

The following feature is at risk at risk and may be removed:

  1. In order to improve alignment Turtle with SPARQL the Working Group proposes to add the grammar productions sparqlPrefix and sparqlBase which allow for using SPARQL style BASE and PREFIX directives in a Turtle document.

See: https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/rdf/raw-file/default/rdf-turtle/index.html#sec-grammar-grammar

WG decision log: http://www.w3.org/2011/rdf-wg/meeting/2013-01-09#resolution_3

Patent Disclosures