[whatwg] Annotating structured data that HTML has no semantics for

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Fri May 15 13:15:13 PDT 2009

On Wed, May 13, 2009 at 10:04 AM, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs at malform.no> wrote:
> Toby Inkster on Wed May 13 02:19:17 PDT 2009:
>> Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>> > Hear hear.  Lets call it "Cascading RDF Sheets".
>> http://buzzword.org.uk/2008/rdf-ease/spec
>> http://buzzword.org.uk/2008/rdf-ease/reactions
>> I have actually implemented it. It works.
> Oh! Thanks for sharing.

Indeed, RDF-EASE seems fairly nice!

>> RDFa is better though.
> What does 'better' mean in this context? Why and how? Because it is easier
> to process? But EASE seems more compatible with microformats, and is
> "better" in that sense.

I'd also like clarification here.  I dislike *all* of the inline
metadata proposals to some degree, for the same reasons that I dislike
inline @style and @onfoo handlers.  A Selector-based way of applying
semantics fits my theoretical needs much better.

> I read all the reactions you pointed to. Some made the claim that EASE would
> move semantics out of the HTML file, and that microformats was better as it
> keeps the semantics inside the file. But I of course agree with you that
> EASE just underline/outline the semantics already in the file.

Yup.  The appropriate critique of separated metadata is that the
*data* is moved out of the document, where it will inevitably decay
compared to the live document.  RDF-EASE keeps all the data stored in
the live document, and merely specifies how to extract it.  The only
way you can lose data then is by changing the html structure itself,
which is much less common than just changing the content.

> From the EASE draft:
>> All properties in RDF-EASE begin with the string -rdf-, as per §
>> Vendor-specific extensions in [CSS21]. This allows RDF-EASE and CSS to be
>> safely mixed in one file, [...]
> I wonder why you think it is so important to be able to mix CSS and EASE. It
> seems better to separate the two completely.

I'm not thrilled with the mixture of CSS and metadata either.  Just
because it uses Selectors doesn't mean it needs to be specifiable
alongside CSS.  jQuery uses Selectors too, but it stays where it
belongs.  ^_^  (That being said, there's a plugin for it that allows
you to specify js in your CSS, and it gets applied to the matching
elements from the block's selector.)


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