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Re: GRDDL + microformats economics-of-deployment use case

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 11:47:04 -0600
To: Ben Adida <ben@adida.net>
Cc: GRDDL Working Group <public-grddl-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1166550424.9088.225.camel@dirk>

On Tue, 2006-12-19 at 12:09 -0500, Ben Adida wrote:
> Dan,
> A few points:
> Dan Connolly wrote:
> >    (maybe she copies and pastes some hFAQ markup
> >    without copying the profile URI; that's a risk, but
> >    it also applies to RDFa namespace declarations.)
> In a lot of cases, Alice has no control over the HEAD of the document.
> Consider widgets like those added to Google's "my page" or any other
> similar "personal homepage" web app. Or consider hosted blogging, where
> you only control some chunk of the body.
> I think it's fair to say that copying-and-pasting a single block of HTML
> is within reach of most people (it works for CC), but copying and
> pasting a block plus modifying the HEAD is actually quite a bit less
> likely, under your assumption that Alice isn't thinking very hard about
> this stuff.

Good point.

(see also http://www.w3.org/2004/01/rdxh/spec#issue-tx-element
"is there a way to push the grddl:transformation attribute down from the
document element to individual elements without breaking the chain of
I'm afraid the answer, for GRDDL, is: no.)

One point I neglected in my earlier message: with RDFa, there
is no Jane (the motivated semweb hacker who writes a piece
of XSLT to grok the new idiom). The RDFa design WG(s) play
the role of Jane once for all dialects.

> >    (maybe Alice doesn't make well-formed XHTML; that's
> >     a risk; but it applies equally to RDFa, and the
> >     same class of solutions apply: tidy, etc.)
> RDFa is specified as a function of the HTML DOM, so in fact it should be
> relatively easy to adapt to tag-soup HTML. With the shift in HTML
> charter strategy, we're shifting a bit, too, to make sure you can do
> RDFa without XSLT and thus without tidy.

I'm not sure I understand your point there. GRDDL is specified
in terms of XPath; I can't think of any relevant difference
between XPath and the DOM; am I missing something?

In either case, either you have real XML going over the wire,
or you do something analagous to tidy in order to get an XPath
node or a DOM node.

> > I think there are enough Alices in the world to deploy
> > new dialects with GRDDL; I wonder if there are enough Susans
> > to deploy them with RDFa.
> If the use case says that GRDDL is easier than RDFa, I disagree. If it's
> meant to show how someone might do microformats deployment, then sure,
> sounds good.

It's meant to show that "easy" isn't a simple scalar measure; that
each of RDFa and GRDDL have different sorts of actors when it comes
to deployment of new idioms.

I have this running thread in my head about economics and Web
Architecture... the idea is that to introduce a new technology
into the Web, while we formally specify just the syntax of one
message or the constraints on one protocol transaction, we're
really fitting them into a giga-scale network, and we should give
some thoughts to what sorts of people and organizations play
which roles, and whether, for a critical mass of them, the
benefits outweigh the costs.

"We are constantly refining the microscopic rules. Governments are
constantly changing the laws -- and hoping that people will follow them.
Bodies such as the World Wide Web Consortium are evolving the protocols,
and trying to arrange for developers to follow them. We engineer the
microscopic rules in the hope that the end result will be a macroscopic
effect that will satisfy us. We are little like physicists tweaking the
gas laws, and hoping that tomorrow the atmosphere won't accidentally
condense into a small blob."
 -- Hypertext and Our Collective Destiny
 Tim Berners-Lee, 12 October 1995

"The design of the Web of documents we have today is the result of
taking the simplest features of hypertext designs from 15 to 20 years
ago, adding globally scoped Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs), and
relaxing link consistency constraints. The social dynamics of the Web
include lots of people agreeing to just a few design constraints in
order to get a significant return on their investment, whether from
reading or writing or both.

By analogy, the Semantic Web involves starting with simple database and
logic designs and using URIs for column names and symbol terms. Which
constraints need relaxing and which social norms will result in
exponential growth are still open questions."
 -- A Pragmatic Theory of Reference for the Web
 Dan Connolly May 2006

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E
Received on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 17:47:20 UTC

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