[whatwg] Where did the "rev" attribute go?

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Wed Jul 12 00:56:45 PDT 2006

On Jul 12, 2006, at 00:52, Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:

> Creating the standard is a somewhat arbitrury process.  And  
> requires humans to do it.
> Although with opaque semantics, like the "rel" name matching the  
> "class" name, you don't need a human intervention to parse much of it.

You don't need human intervention on a per-rel value basis in order  
to be able to extract rel values and stick them to a hash table or to  
compare values for equality. However, you do need specific  
programming by a human to process rel values in a way that takes  
takes into account the meaning (semantics) of a given rel value.

The usual fallacy is that people assume that machines can't  
comprehend English prose but machines suddenly develop an  
understanding of English when nouns are put in element names or  
attribute values.

> Alot of this is done for the benefit of machines (like browsers,  
> spiders, search engines, etc).
> It lets you add a bit of "semantic salt" to bring out the "meaning"  
> in the HTML so that machines can understand the meaning of what you  
> are saying too.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. I wouldn't be  
surprised is semantic salt was similarly unhealthy. :-)

Anyway, asking what we could express is the wrong question.  
Expressing things is useless if there no one interested in listening  
to the expression or if the cost of expressing (and consuming the  
expression) is too high compared to the benefits.

> I wrote a kind of intro to this a while ago.  I've had people (who  
> able web developers but know nothing about semantic HTML) say that  
> it's easy to read, so I'll refer you to that... http://changelog.ca/ 
> log/2005/09/12/proposed-microformats-for-reputation-and-trust-metrics

"What music do my friends "like" to listen to?" Can't you just ask  
them instead of requiring them to perform Semantic Web gymnastics so  
that they can be stalked using a search engine without actually  
talking with them?

"Who 'should' I be listening to about RSS?" It could be entertaining  
(in a Jerry Springer way) to see people game the system on that one. :-)

> Now, not only does it know that "Charles Iliya Krempeaux" is a  
> name.  But it also knows that "Charles" is the person's "given  
> name".  That "Iliya" is that person's "additional name".  And that  
> "Krempeaux" is that person's "family name".

And then what? Why is it useful that a computer knows that a string  
on a Web page is a human name? Do the benefits of the computer having  
such knowledge outweigh the cost of the human labor required to mark  
up names?

(If you really needed to figure out on a computer which strings are  
names, instead of requiring page authors to cooperate with you, you  
could get results by extracting clusters of capitalized words,  
matching them against a database of known first and last names and  
filling in the gaps by guessing. For example, you could guess that  
Krempeaux is a family name, because it is a capitalized word that  
follows two well-known given names.)

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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