[whatwg] "Just create a Microformat for it" - thoughts on micro-data topic

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue May 5 22:54:06 PDT 2009

On Tue, 5 May 2009, Ben Adida wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > Are you saying that RDF vocabularies can be created _without_ this due 
> > diligence?
> Who decides what the right due diligence is?

The person writing the vocabulary, presumably.

> One organization for *all* topics, ever?

I don't think that would really scale. Even for major languages, like 
HTML, we haven't found a single organisation to be a successful model.

Manu's list didn't mention anything about a single organisation:

On Tue, 5 May 2009, Manu Sporny wrote:
> Creating a Microformat is a very time consuming prospect, including:
>   1. Attempting to apply current Microformats to solve your problem.
>   2. Gathering examples to show how the content is represented in the
>      wild.
>   3. Gathering common data formats that encode the sort of content
>      you are attempting to express.
>   4. Analyzing the data formats and the content.
>   5. Deriving common vocabulary terms.
>   6. Proposing a draft Microformat and arguing the relevance of each
>      term in the vocabulary.
>   7. Sorting out parsing rules for the Microformat.
>   8. Repeating steps 1-7 until the community is happy.
>   9. Testing the Microformat in the wild, getting feedback, writing
>      code to support your specific Microformat.
>   10. Draft stage - if you didn't give up by this point.

Surely all of the above apply equally to any RDFa vocabulary just as it 
would to _any_ vocabularly, regardless of the underlying syntax?

Consider each of these in turn:

1: You have to make sure you're not reinventing the wheel, whatever 
language or vocabulary you are designing.

2: You have to make sure whatever language or vocabulary you are designing 
is something that your users can use.

3: If you do have to invent a new language or vocabulary, it makes sense 
to base it on the base of knowledge humanity has collected on the subject.

4: You have to study the information collected in steps 2 and 3 to make 
sense of it.

5: Deriving vocabulary names is a key part of any language design effort.

6: Justifying your design is a key part of any language design effort 
also. Not doing this would lead to a language or vocabulary with 
unnecessary parts, making it harder to use.

7: With any language, part of designing the vocabulary is defining how to 
process content that uses it.

8: Defining any language or vocabulary effectively must, clearly, involve 
a feedback loop with community review.

9: The most important practical test of a language is the test of 
deployment. Getting feedback and writing code is naturally part of writing 
a format.

10: You have to specify the language.

As far as I can tell, the steps above are just the steps one would take 
for designing any format, language, or vocabulary. Are you saying that 
creating an RDF vocabulary _doesn't_ involve these steps? How is an RDF 
vocabulary defined if not using these steps?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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