[whatwg] RDFa is to structured data, like canvas is to bitmap and SVG is to vector

Sam Ruby rubys at intertwingly.net
Sat Jan 17 10:27:42 PST 2009

On Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 11:55 AM, Shelley Powers
<shelleyp at burningbird.net> wrote:
> The debate about RDFa highlights a disconnect in the decision making related
> to HTML5.

Perhaps.  Or perhaps not.  I am far from an apologist for Hixie, (nor
for that matter and I a strong advocate for RDF), but I offer the
following question and observation.

> The purpose behind RDFa is to provide a way to embed complex information
> into a web document, in such a way that a machine can extract this
> information and combine it with other data extracted from other web pages.
> It is not a way to document private data, or data that is meant to be used
> by some JavaScript-based application. The sole purpose of the data is for
> external extraction and combination.

So, I take it that it isn't essential that RDFa information be
included in the DOM?  This is not rhetorical: I honestly don't know
the answer to this question.

> So, why accept that we have to use MathML in order to solve the problems of
> formatting mathematical formula? Why not start from scratch, and devise a
> new approach?

Ian explored (and answered) that here:


Key to Ian's decision was the importance of DOM integration for this
vocabulary.  If DOM integration is essential for RDFa, then perhaps
the same principles apply.  If not, perhaps some other principles may

- Sam Ruby

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