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Re: Comments on HTML Microdata, W3C Working Draft 24 June 2010

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 20:39:07 +0000 (UTC)
To: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
cc: public-html-comments@w3.org, Thomas Baker <tbaker@tbaker.de>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1012072034520.27980@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Tue, 7 Dec 2010, Nathan wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > On Tue, 7 Dec 2010, Nathan wrote:
> > > Ian Hickson wrote:
> > > > I've used dce: and dct:, since now the example has both.
> > > A general comment, microdata appears to be incredibly verbose for authors
> > > when using multiple vocabularies to describe things, the example at
> > > http://dev.w3.org/html5/md/#examples is almost painful to read, let alone
> > > write.
> > > 
> > > Is there no way to reduce the repetition of long URIs for properties and
> > > types as illustrated by the Turtle equivalent in the referred to example?
> > > Does HTML or Microdata cater for this in any way?
> > 
> > When we did the usability studies for this we found that in practice (and
> > much to my surprise) the verbosity had no impact on the usability of the
> > language, so we didn't do anything to reduce it.
> I'd love to see those results, any chance of a link to them?

I blogged about it here at the time:


For privacy reasons I'm not able to make the actual raw videos available, 
but if you have any specific questions then I can try to answer them. In 
general I would encourage people to try to reproduce these results as that 
is the best way to check them.

> > Furthermore, in practice, most use cases for microdata don't involve 
> > multiple vocabularies but a single vocabulary explicitly named using 
> > itemtype="", for which the vocabulary's short names are used.
> If I understand correctly, that's because microformats constrain 
> vocabularies to only describing a single type of thing, and this has 
> spilled through in to microdata thus constraining descriptions of things 
> to only use a single vocabulary.

No, I'm talking about use cases here, not syntax. When designing 
microdata, I collected a long list of use cases, for which it was 
subsequently designed. The vast majority of those use cases only involve 
one vocabulary at a time.

It may be that microdata is not designed for the same use cases that you 
are interested in, in which case it would make sense that you would have a 
different point of view on this.

> I'd be very surprised, shocked even, to find that this covered most use 
> cases, and whilst I can see how simple usage may be common in the early 
> days, moving forwards ever more complex usage and descriptions are sure 
> to become common place - just as people now use far more than just <a> 
> <b> <i> and <p> in html.

<a> is still the most-used element in HTML, so I don't know that this is 
necessarily a good analogy.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 7 December 2010 20:39:36 UTC

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