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Re: CfC: Request transition of HTML Microdata to Candidate Recommendation

From: Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2012 23:00:00 +0400
To: "Manu Sporny" <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>, "Marcos Caceres" <w3c@marcosc.com>
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>, "Sam Ruby" <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Message-ID: <op.woce2apxy3oazb@chaals.local>
On Sun, 25 Nov 2012 22:15:26 +0400, Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com> wrote:

> On Sunday, 25 November 2012 at 16:38, Manu Sporny wrote:
>> On 11/14/2012 05:15 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:
>> > In accordance with both the W3C process's requirement to record the
>> > group's decision to request advancement[1], and with the steps
>> > identified in the "Plan 2014" CfC[2], this is a Call for Consensus
>> > (CfC) to request transition to CR for the following document:
>> >
>> > http://htmlwg.org/cr/microdata/Overview.html
>> >
>> > Silence will be taken to mean there is no objection, but positive
>> > responses are encouraged. If there are no objections by Monday,
>> > November 26th, this resolution will carry.

Yandex supports publication.

I don't see that Manu's objection is based on technical grounds (with the  
exception of confusion arising from complementary technologies for the  
same functionality), and I do not see any restriction in the process that  
stops W3C making complementary or competitive technology for different  
functionalities. I am therefore unconvinced.

Disclaimer - we are members of schema.org. That isn't the basis of  
rejecting the arguments against publishing, which I provide below.

>> I object to publication of Microdata as a REC-track specification as it
>> duplicates over 90% of the functionality already provided in RDFa 1.1,
>> another REC specification published by the W3C.
...
>> The problem is that we already have a set
>> of specifications that are official W3C recommendations that do what
>> Microdata does and more. RDFa 1.1 became an official W3C Recommendation
>> last summer.
>
> With all due respect, having patent commitments given to a particular  
> specification (i.e., going to Rec) does not automatically qualify it as  
> "the one true technology" for those particular use cases... forever.  
> That would be anticompetitive and against the spirit of innovation. In  
> other word, having a Rec for RDFa does not mean you hold some kind of  
> universal patent on that technology that can be used to block other  
> competing technologies/standards.

Agreed.

>> The fact that RDFa already does what Microdata does has
>> been elaborated upon before:

Yes. For what it is worth, I personally think RDFa is generally a  
technically better solution. But as Marcos says, "so what"? Our job at W3C  
is to make standards for the technology the market decides to use.

>> Here’s the problem in a nutshell: The W3C is thinking of ratifying two
>> completely different specifications that accomplish the same thing in
>> basically the same way[3].
[...]
> Again, with all due respect, this is "standardisation" - not "science".  
> Standards is a political game and sometimes the worst technology wins  
> (e.g., betamax vs vas). That's not to say microdata is worst, just that  
> one always wins one way or another ("all is fair in love, war, and  
> standards").

Right.

>> It is typically a bad idea to have two formats published by the same
>> organization that do the same thing.
[...]
>> One of the goals of Web standards is to reduce, or preferably
>> eliminate, the confusion surrounding the correct technology decision
>> to make.
>
> "Correct technology"? Again, with all due respect, history shows that  
> standards bodies are absolutely terrible at deciding such things.

Indeed, W3C states as a principle that
   "Standards are voluntarily adopted and
    success is determined by the market."
    - http://open-stand.org/principles/

> Of all the technologies that the W3C has standardised, all but a handful  
> have been successful*
...
> *successful: implemented in a web browser and used by a significant  
> portion of the Web's users and developers.

This seems to be an overly restrictive definition. There are technologies  
that have been adopted where they matter to the web, which in some cases  
is outside browsers. RDF is not universally loved, but I believe it would  
take a special definition of successful to argue convincingly that it is  
not successful.

> In cases where the W3C has tried to do push "correct technology" (as you  
> put it), like with XHTML 2.0, it ended in absolute failure and years  
> wasted in frustration (and it cause entities like the WHATWG to form and  
> take the place of the W3C in certain sectors).

Yes. Encouraging a proliferation of organisations making "standards for  
the web" and competing against each other strikes me as a serious problem  
worth some effort to avoid. In particular, I believe it is far worse than  
the level of confusion that can arise when W3C says "here are two ways to  
encode machine-readable data - pick the one that suits you".

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathie Nevile - Consultant (web standards) CTO Office, Yandex
       chaals@yandex-team.ru         Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Sunday, 25 November 2012 19:00:33 UTC

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