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

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Sat Jan 3 08:11:39 PST 2009

On 3/1/09 16:54, Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
> Also sprach Dan Brickley:
>   >  My main problem with the natural language processing option is that it
>   >  feels too close to waiting for Artificial Intelligence. I'd rather add 6
>   >  attributes to HTML and get on with life.
> :-)

Another thought re NLP. RDFa (and similar, ...) are formats that can be 
used for writing down the conclusions of NLP analysis. For example here 
see the BBC's recent Muddy Boots experiment, using DBPedia (Wikipedia in 
RDF) data to drive autoclassification / named entity recognition. So 
here we can agree with Ian and others that text analysis has much to 
offer, and still use RDFa (or other semantic markup - i'll sidestep that 
debate for now) as a notation for marking up the words with a 
machine-friendly indicator of their NLP-guessed meaning.


> Personally, I think the 'class' attribute may still be a more
> compelling option in a less-is-more way. It already exists and can
> easily be used for styling purposes. Styling is bait for authors to
> disclose semantics.

I'm sure there's mileage to be had there. I'm somehow incapable of 
writing XSLT so GRDDL hasn't really charmed me, but 'class' certainly 
corresponds to a lot of meaningful markup. Naturally enough it is 
stronger at tagging bits of information with a category than at defining 
relationships amongst the things defined when they're scattered around 
the page. But that's no reason to dismiss it entirely.

Did you see the RDF-EASE draft, 
http://buzzword.org.uk/2008/rdf-ease/spec? From which comes: "Ten second 
sales pitch: CSS is an external file that specifies how your document 
should look; RDF-EASE is an external file that specifies what your 
document means."

RDF-EASE uses CSS-based syntax. More discussion here, 
including question of whether it ought to be expressed using 




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