[whatwg] Ghosts from the past and the semantic Web

Ben Adida ben at adida.net
Fri Aug 29 11:09:34 PDT 2008

Greg Houston wrote:
> Setting a precedent for adding multiple new properties to be added to
> most of  the elements for one metadata specification is something I
> hope does not happen.

I think you're confused about this being "one" metadata specification.
RDF is well established and enables you to say *anything* in terms of
data structure. It's more of a generic solution. If you want to use your
own vocab, you can do so, no need to follow any of the established ones.

Any metadata you want, but a consistent syntax so tools can be built to
provide some level of automation.


> My suggestion keeps the metadata code tidy, and more human readable.
> Sprawling out all the different metadata properties just makes a huge
> mess of the markup.

I understand how it would seem messy the first few times you look at it,
but I'm having trouble seeing how your proposal is any less messy. If
you want a lot of metadata, you've got a lot of markup. "Messy" is

> This sort of mess isn't acceptable to me:
> <div class="vcard" id="weborganics"
>                xmlns:foaf="http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/"
>                typeof="foaf:Person"
>                about="#weborganics">
> <p><span property="foaf:name" class="fn">Martin McEvoy</span></p>
> <p rel="foaf:img">
> <img alt="weborganics" src="http://weborganics.co.uk/images/me.jpg"
> class="photo"/>
> </p>
> <p>Contact: <a rel="foaf:mbox" title="Email" class="email"
> href="mailto:info at weborganics.co.uk">Email</a>
> Web: <a rel="foaf:weblog me" class="url"
> href="http://weborganics.co.uk/index.xhtml">WebOrganics</a></p>
> <div class="geo" id="weblog" rel="foaf:based_near"
>        xmlns:geo="http://www.w3.org/2003/01/geo/wgs84_pos#">
>        <span typeof="geo:Point" about="#weblog">
>                <abbr property="geo:lat" content="53.7552" title="53.7552"
> class="latitude">N 53.7552</abbr>,
>                <abbr property="geo:long" content="-2.3675" title="-2.3675"
> class="longitude">W -2.3675</abbr>
>        </span>
> </div>

Which part of this is "messy" and "unacceptable?"

This particular example is trying to do both microformats and quite a
bit of RDFa. Think of it as an advanced example, which certainly does
complicate things a bit. But other than the whitespace which isn't
conducive to easy reading, what are the problems?

> Also, by putting everyone on the defensive, I really don't think you
> are going to make much progress here. Maybe that worked on the
> Microformats list, but I don't think it's going to fly here. If you
> get anywhere at all I think it will have to be through some sort of
> compromise or new win win solution, but I seriously doubt you are
> going to be able to force RDFa into HTML5 by generating 20% of the
> content on this list.

I don't think I'm *putting* anyone on the defensive, though I am
certainly responding frankly and honestly to a number of comments which
are themselves typically far harsher in their tone and implications. In
all cases, I have tried to point out when I think the comment is
misleading, and I've tried to stick to the facts and arguments being made.

Did you expect me to say "pretty pretty please?"

Now, if I were writing a dozen emails a day, unprompted, I would
certainly understand your point. But these are not unprompted emails!
I'm only responding to comments on the list, on a thread that I didn't
even start (nor did I really even have the time to handle this workload
this week.)

Is that not the right thing to do in a technical discussion? Should I
ignore most comments and respond only to the convenient ones? Should I
leave incorrect or misleading information about our proposal unanswered?

> Was it Manu that said he generated 20% of the
> emails on the Microformats list? I can easily see how that could be so
> now if this is your approach to trying to get your way. Just beat
> everyone over the head with your thing until everyone gives in,
> beneficial or not.

I doubt that Ian and the HTML5 group have ever been "beaten" into
submission on any issue, so that would be a foolish strategy on my part.

I'm trying to respond to points that I think are incorrect or misguided,
so that folks may evaluate the proposal for what I believe it offers.

If you think my comments are out of line or inappropriate in any way,
then please let me know with some more specific examples.

(I think you're confused about Manu's point regarding his volume on the
microformats mailing list. He was referring to the fact that he's quite
active in microformat creation. He wasn't pitching RDFa. As for me, I
may have written a few times to the list, but not much and again only in
response to comments on RDFa.)


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