[whatwg] data-* [Was:Re: Trying to work out the problems solved by RDFa]

James Graham jgraham at opera.com
Mon Jan 12 01:19:55 PST 2009

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis wrote:
> On 11/1/09 16:52, Calogero Alex Baldacchino wrote:
>> Well, that's a chance, of course, but that's *not* RDFa as specified by
>> W3C; for instance, @property is specified as accepting _only_ CURIEs
> Good point; I hadn't spotted that.
>> It's the same with every possible existing custom (non-standard)
>> attributes and elements out there, since there is no standard for them,
>> and instead data-* has been created;
> Emphatically, data-* has been created for private use data encoding 
> (basically for scripting purposes) not as a replacement for the existing 
> practices of adding new elements and attributes to HTML without going 
> through W3C/WHATWG.

It should, perhaps set alarm bells ringing that almost every time data-* 
attributes come up, people suggest using them to publish data to the web 
at large rather than as internal scripting hooks. Since the restrictions 
on data-* are not machine checkable, even the majority of "standards 
aware" authors are unlikely to heed them. Therefore the net effect of 
the restriction will be to prevent conscientious standards bodies from 
using data-* attributes in their specifications. It is quite possible 
that popular technologies will arise from sources other than such 
standards organisations and so use of data-* for more than just private 
scripting may be inevitable.

It is also possible that features that start off as private scripting 
hooks will evolve into data publishing features. This again would lead 
to the natural breaking of the restriction of data-* attributes.

(I know I have said this before but I forget whether I posted it or just 
discussed it on IRC.)

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