[whatwg] RDFa statement consistency

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Fri Aug 29 01:02:09 PDT 2008

On Aug 29, 2008, at 00:29, Ben Adida wrote:

> Plus, consider the risk to HTML5: nothing.

I don't believe that is the case.

If I've understood history correctly, introducing Namespaces into XML  
was primarily a requirement stipulated by the RDF community. XML got  
Namespaces, but then at least notable parts of the RDF community  
figured that they didn't like RDF/XML all that much and started doing  
N-triples, N3 and Turtle. The damage was already done, and now the XML  
community is stuck with Namespaces in XML.

I write software that processes XML, so every time I have to look up a  
namespace URI, I'm effectively paying a spill-over RDF tax. When my  
software runs slower because it has to compare two strings instead of  
one, the users of my software are paying a spill-over RDF tax. I  
seriously don't like paying the spill-over RDF tax in the form of  

Now we have people from the RDF community asking for CURIEs in HTML.  
Even if the experiment didn't work out, the damage would already have  
been done, and the HTML community would be stuck with supporting  
CURIEs. Or even if we were able to negotiate CURIEs away and settle on  
full URIs, the HTML community would be stuck with unwieldy identifiers  
(just consider how much things would suck if HTML element names had to  
be written as URIs).

It's really not nice to impose the RDF tax onto the HTML community.

Back in the Atom WG, there was also the issue that some RDF proponents  
wanted to make Atom RDF. Instead of making all Atom consumers deal  
with RDF, we specced a way for mapping Atom rel keywords onto URIs, so  
people who want to see the world as URIs, can see it as URIs but the  
rest of us don't have to.

I like the GRDDL approach of seeing RDF there by looking at non-RDF  
things just right--with the modification that the person who wants to  
look just right is the one supplying the transform.

The point of
was to try to come up with a scheme that allows people who want to see  
HTML as RDF to see it that way, but in doing so making them pay the  
RDF tax so that those who don't need or want to see HTML as RDF do not  
need to pay the RDF tax.

> Browsers don't
> need to do anything (except make the attributes available in the DOM,
> which they would probably do anyways.)

I'm getting mixed signals about the extent to which RDFa in envisioned  
to be browser-sensitive. Weren't browsers supposed to do cool stuff  
with it according to some emails in this thread?

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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