[whatwg] <link>/<meta> and microdata

Philip Jägenstedt philipj at opera.com
Thu Nov 19 14:51:59 PST 2009

In a (slightly edited) Jack Bauer example [1],  Chrome, Firefox and  
presumably Safari has the meta elements moved to head. This will severely  
break script-based implementation of microdata, which are likely to be  
used for the time being until the DOM API is implemented natively. I can't  
see any workaround for this, so I suggest that <meta> simply not be used  
for microdata, preferably by making it non-conforming and removing it from  
the definitions/algorithms.

For <link>, the rel attribute issue [2] needs to be settled. It seems to  
me that sometimes requiring rel and sometimes not makes for a less  
consistent language with more room for error.

I hesitate to make an argument based on aesthetics, but I think  
repurposing either <link> or <meta> for use in microdata is decidedly  
ugly, mostly because my legacy understanding of them is as "<head> only  
elements". In the usability study [3] there was only one example which  
used <link> and <meta> [4]. Was there any indication then that any of the  
test subjects were put off by either <link> or <meta>? Is my concern  
exaggerated? (It often is.)

Both <item> and <link> are used only to include non-visible metadata in  
the item. Philip Taylor points out in IRC that these work equally well:

<span hidden itemprop=foo>bar</span> (instead of meta)

<a itemprop=foo href=bar></a> (instead of link)

Of course this is just as ugly. It's good enough perhaps, but if someone  
has an aesthetically pleasing solution for these cases, I'd like to hear  
about it. New void elements are a no-go, just like <itemref> didn't work  

[1] http://software.hixie.ch/utilities/js/live-dom-viewer/saved/312
[2] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=8340
[3] http://blog.whatwg.org/usability-testing-html5
[4] http://damowmow.com/playground/microdata/001/yelp-annotated.html

Philip Jägenstedt

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