[whatwg] Trying to work out the problems solved by RDFa

Julian Reschke julian.reschke at gmx.de
Fri Jan 2 09:55:55 PST 2009

Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> ...
> Solutions for this already exist; embedded N3 in a <script> tag, just
> to name something that Ian already mentioned, allows you to mash RDF
> data into a page in a machine-extractable way, and brings in any of
> the specific ancillary benefits of RDF.
> ...

Well, it'll require an N3 parser where previously none was needed. Also, 
it separates the metadata from the text, a situation most people want to 

This may work, but as far as I can tell, the use of <script> for "data 
blocks" is an afterthought -- for instance, it's described in a section 
about, well, Scripting.

So, is anybody using this successfully in practice?

> ...
> Not quite correct.  Again, the problem of embedded shareable data in a
> web page has been solved multiple times.  The specific problem of
> sharing *RDF* data (due to needing/wanting the specific benefits RDF
> can offer) has also been solved.  What are the precise problems that
> require *RDFa* as a solution?
> ...

Could you elaborate a bit on these solutions?

My understanding was that RDFa has been produced in order to address 
problems with other approaches, such as using <meta> elements, eRDF, or 

If there is a *successful* alternative to RDFa that does not require new 
attributes, please let us know :-).

> ...
> Well, there are many things that would offer more advantages than
> disadvantages by themselves.  We can't possibly include all of them in
> the spec; you can think about this as including a hidden large
> disadvantage of 'will grow the size of the spec and the amount of work
> implementors have to do'.  Thus the advantages must generally be
> significantly larger than the disadvantages; this is why the best
> argument for including something in the spec is often "there are
> already widespread hacks to accomplish this".  <video>, for example,
> was included based on pretty much precisely that argument.
> ...

Reminder: RDFa is one of the things the (W3C) Working Group's Charter 
mentions as candidate for inclusion (either by a generic extensibility 
mechanism, or otherwise by extending the language):

"The HTML WG is encouraged to provide a mechanism to permit 
independently developed vocabularies such as Internationalization Tag 
Set (ITS), Ruby, and RDFa to be mixed into HTML documents." 

 > ...

Best regards, Julian

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