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Re: HTML WG: ISSUE-120 Use of prefixes is too complicated for a Web technology

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2010 13:23:29 -0500
Message-ID: <4CDC34A1.4080806@digitalbazaar.com>
To: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
This was sent to me by Stéphane Corlosquet and includes feedback from
the Drupal Community on HTML+RDFa:

bcc: RDFa WG

--------------------------------------------------------

Could you please do me a huge favor and forward this email to 
public-html@w3.org <mailto:public-html@w3.org> so it gets added to the
issue tracker?

On Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 12:23 PM, Stéphane Corlosquet
<scorlosquet@gmail.com <mailto:scorlosquet@gmail.com>> wrote:

    Below are some notes regarding the deployment of RDFa out there on
    the Web from the perspective of a developer who is NOT part of the
    RDFa WG.

    A few weeks ago, Dries Buytaert announced that Drupal Gardens had
    reached 20,000 websites [1]. All these sites run Drupal 7 which has
    RDFa support by default, that means 20,000+ sites relying on the
    RDFa prefix mechanism on all their pages. Considering that the
    Drupal open source software is still in beta at this point, you can
    expect this number to sky rocket in the next few months. Breaking
    backwards-compatibility would make it a very bad idea to deprecate
    CURIEs and prefix mechanisms from RDFa. Drupal Gardens is just one
    example among many others like the White House, Best Buy, etc. The
    RDFa train has already left the station, the prefix mechanism is
    already part of too many websites and softwares to be considered for
    deprecation.

    By using several namespaces, we were able to describe different kind
    of information such as taxonomies (SKOS), online content (SIOC) and
    their authors (FOAF) all in the same pages. Without the use of
    prefixes and these respective namespaces, this would have been much
    more complicated and convoluted. CURIEs make this mix and match much
    easier and less error prone than having to deal with long URIs. As
    to the argument regarding complexity, since we started talking about
    the RDFa CURIE/prefix pattern in 2008 [2] and after presenting it at
    several Drupal conferences, no one has ever complained about it.
    Ultimately, and to reiterate Toby's argument, developers will want
    to use prefixes regardless in order to abbreviate URIs, so this is a
    very important aspect of the spec (and one that makes explaining and
    implementing RDFa easier too).

    regards,
    Steph.

    [1] http://buytaert.net/20000-drupal-gardens-sites
    [2] http://groups.drupal.org/node/16597


    On Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 11:12 PM, Manu Sporny
    <msporny@digitalbazaar.com <mailto:msporny@digitalbazaar.com>> wrote:

        Ian,

        I've tried to represent your opinion on HTML+RDFa and CURIEs in this
        e-mail. Please correct anything in here that does not accurately
        represent your position re: CURIEs/prefixes/etc in HTML+RDFa.

        On 09/16/2010 06:47 AM, Nathan wrote:
        > Is the HTML editor open to having first class support for
        > prefixes/CURIEs in HTML, such as the introduction of a new
        metadata
        > element "prefix" with the attributes @name and @href (or
        "curie" with
        > the attributes @prefix and @href)?

        I do not believe that Ian is open to that particular mechanism.
        Ian is
        asserting that the use of prefix:reference mapping (aka: CURIEs) in
        HTML+RDFa is too complicated for most authors and that they will
        get it
        wrong.

        We have attempted to mitigate Ian's various concerns by introducing
        three new concepts in RDFa 1.1 - allowing full URIs everywhere, RDFa
        Profiles and the @prefix attribute. He is fine with allowing
        full URIs
        everywhere. I'm pretty sure that he does not like the @prefix
        solution
        as a replacement for @xmlns and would claim that the "solution"
        misses
        the point. I'm also pretty sure that he is against having an
        indirection
        mechanism where strings map to other strings declared earlier in the
        document (the whole concept of CURIEs).

        > i.e. is the HTML editor looking to introduce well defined and
        easily
        > maintainable prefix/curie support in to HTML?

        No, he is not.

        > or conversely, is the HTML
        > editor looking to relegate @prefix on the grounds that it's too
        > complicated and difficult to maintain moving forwards, without
        proposing
        > or seconding an alternative solution?

        Ian is suggesting that any CURIE-like mechanism should be
        removed from
        the HTML+RDFa specification. The alternative solution, as I
        understand
        it, is to use full URIs everywhere, or pre-define tokens that
        should be
        used when describing particular semantic objects... basically, what
        Microdata does. He has also stated that he is open to other
        mechanisms
        that accomplish our goals that have yet to be discovered.

        > as an aside, if @prefix is defined by a specification which
        extends
        > HTML, then does it fall under the HTML editors remit to
        maintain @prefix?

        Strictly speaking, no it does not. Ian will most likely treat
        @prefix in
        the same way that he has treated the HTML+RDFa spec, as
        something built
        on top of HTML5.

        -- manu

        --
        Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
        President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
        blog: Saving Journalism - The PaySwarm Developer API
        http://digitalbazaar.com/2010/09/12/payswarm-api/
Received on Thursday, 11 November 2010 18:24:01 UTC

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