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Re: Microdata design philosophies

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2009 11:45:27 +0300
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <07F9CF80-42AC-4030-AAD5-A0EB702580CA@iki.fi>
To: martin@weborganics.co.uk
On Oct 16, 2009, at 00:53, Martin McEvoy wrote:

> Martin McEvoy wrote:
>> Why use microdata at all when microformats already exist,  I cant  
>> think of a single microdata use case that isn't already solved by  
>> microformats and RDFa, by the way microformats and RDFa work very  
>> niceley together on the same page, I would hate to try and mix  
>> micro data with microformats or RDFa
> The above is truly the crux of my Issue , Microformats  and RDFa do  
> exist today , they actually work in perfect harmony together it was  
> a design principle of RDFa that it doesn't break microformats which  
> in itself was very intuitive, a win win,

On a technical level, RDFa doesn't break Microformats. (And neither  
does Microdata.)

However, on a political level, RDFa and Microformats don't exist in  
harmony. I attended a lightning talk at XTech 2008 where Mark Birbeck  
was pitching RDFa as "Microformats done right". The obvious  
implication is that Microformats are Microformats done wrong. There  
were some Microformat proponents in the audience and after the talk  
the atmosphere was chilly and the rhythm of the obligatory end-of-talk  
clapping was deliberately slow so as to be make a disapproving point.

> but Microdata has gone out its way it seems to ignore, the principle  
> of  "not teaching your grandmother to suck eggs" ie Ignoring  
> everything that has gone before it, both Microformats and RDFa have  
> undergone years of development millions of man hours have been spent  
> on developing and publishing microformats on their own, and suddenly  
> over a matter of months with no public discussion a single man says  
> he can do it better and makes it a part of the future of html,  
> amazing!!

It didn't come suddenly. There has been a pretty consistent face-to- 
face message to the effect of "Please write proper specs for your  
stuff." from #whatwg regulars to #microformats regulars on the  
conference circuit. After the annual Microformats talk at XTech 2006,  
2007 and 2008 when it was the time for questions there was a #whatwg  
regular delivering the message (me, Anne and me, IIRC). The response  
was to the effect of (not a word-for-word quote) "Yeah, we should have  
those but we are lazy. Why don't you volunteer to write the specs?"  
And at least on one occasion, IIRC, I replied that that response is  
like *inviting* Hixie to take over and do Microformats5, and he might  
do it in a way the Microformat community might not like. (I'm not 100%  
sure if I said "Hixie", "the WHATWG" or "someone else".)

-- 
Henri Sivonen
hsivonen@iki.fi
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/
Received on Friday, 16 October 2009 08:46:12 GMT

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