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Re: RDF Web Applications WG Position on RDFa/Microdata Task Force

From: Cameron Heavon-Jones <cmhjones@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2011 14:59:24 +0100
Cc: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>, W3C TAG <www-tag@w3.org>, "HTML WG (public-html@w3.org)" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <D0829D74-16E3-4842-BD14-AD82F4FC98ED@gmail.com>
To: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>

On 01/08/2011, at 6:21 PM, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 7:58 AM, Cameron Heavon-Jones
> <cmhjones@gmail.com> wrote:
>> The inclusion of data-(*) attributes is possibly seen as one of the simplest and most liberating additions to the HTML language within this version's iteration. However their omission from greater semantic scope would seem to either render these attributes as opaque for semantic derivation or provide an input to be considered for capturing ontological information in the disparate environment of the web.
> 
> You're correct; data-* attributes are required to be opaque for
> semantic derivation.  They are meant only for page-local use, and must
> not be used to embed information for third parties to read.
> 
> ~TJ

Yes, i'm aware of their currently intended scope but my open question was whether this is a prudent design decision?

Should we be recommending that authors use a markup solution which is opaque?

Is there such a thing as opaque data?

Is it right to specify multiple methods of data markup?

Current methods are complicated, is data-* more conceptually easy?

If it's difficult to get authors to use 1 data markup method, how to get them to use n methods?

Current methods assume an existing ontology which is 'yet to emerge' but which 'everyone uses'. Maybe this is the wrong premiss to start from when data-* makes no ontological assumptions?

Is data-* more "webby" than other HTML data markup solutions?

I'm definitely not saying that in its current form data-* represents a complete solution or even a solution, however it has elements of potential which answer some outstanding questions which have proven difficult for the currently proposed solutions to address.

When this is added to the current limitations with <time> elements and their possible replacement with a generic <data> element, or even just addressing the other standardized units (kgs, m, K, A, etc) and the problem seems divided into standardized data and yet-to-be-standardized data. What time and calendar illustrate, is that even the standardized measurements are subject to change and are temporally and culturally divisible and diminishable. 

The overlap in specification, together with the converging limitations of the proposed technologies, mandates that any appraisal should start with a recap in the requirements of what is to be solved, given the information which has been gathered through multiple specifications, reviews and attempted implementations, prior to attention being given to what might be contended as potential solutions.

What the data-* attributes do bring to HTML over-and-above other markup solutions is their immediate targeting and application  of CSS styles and rules, something which is completely missed from any discussion on data, its identity and computational comprehension.

As a problem domain, I bring these points forward as open feedback on the HTML LC and in response to propositions on a data task force.

Thanks,
Cameron Jones
Received on Wednesday, 3 August 2011 13:59:56 GMT

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