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Re: Report on testing of the link relations registry

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2010 23:00:20 +0000 (UTC)
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1009012247250.27869@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Wed, 1 Sep 2010, David Singer wrote:
> > 
> > Very few of the Web-related registries fit this criteria. For example, 
> > the Microformats registry has "pingback" in it; the rel="" registry 
> > does not (and the application was rejected, despite the keyword being 
> > in very wide use). The MIME types registry still doesn't have 
> > image/svg+xml, despite it being a ten-year-old type.
> Then it's an informal type, and someone else could register it with a 
> new, conflicting meaning.

In the real world, they couldn't. rel=pingback and Content-Type: 
image/svg+xml have established deployments and attempting to use those 
values with a different meaning -- even if the registries accepted them -- 
would be completely incompatible with actual dployed content and software.

> > Formal registries, at least as implemented so far for the Web, have 
> > been a disaster in terms of how well they reflect reality.
> Mostly, I fear, because people don't seem to go to the trouble of using 
> them...and then complain when what they want to know isn't in the 
> registry or cannot be found.

I'm not interested in playing the blame game. The point is that the 
registries don't work. Whether that's because of a problem with the 
registries or whether that's because their users are too lazy really 
doesn't change the end result.

> > The microformats registry is far more up to date than the link 
> > relations registry. There's no reason we shouldn't consider it the 
> > official place to look to see what a link relation's spec is, or to 
> > ensure that we aren't overlapping with someone else when we invent a 
> > new type.
> But the 'we' in that sense is anyone who can edit the Wiki...which is 
> anyone, as far as I can tell.  It seems there is no sanity check.

The Microformats wiki has a long established community that performs 
maintenance of the wiki. I would be happy to trust them to maintain a 
registry as well. Since it is an open community, anyone interested in 
maintaining the registry's sanity (as you put it) would be presumably 
welcome to participate in doing so, including anyone currently 
volunteering to maintain the IANA one.

> IANA is very successful, respected, and useful, for many many types.  

I question all three of those premises, but it is not my goal to attack 
IANA or defend the Microformats community (or indeed the WHATWG community 
or the Wikipedia community; it would be equally fine by me for a registry 
to be in those places too). My point is just that the process for keeping 
track of registered link relation types should be one that is suited to 
today's Web, with minimal overhead. We shouldn't have to send an e-mail, 
wait for a human to respond, etc, when all we want to do is say "I'm going 
to use this type".

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Wednesday, 1 September 2010 23:00:49 UTC

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