W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-lld@w3.org > June 2011

Re: WG: Schema.org considered helpful

From: Pascal Christoph <christoph@hbz-nrw.de>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:28:00 +0200
Message-ID: <4DFB3A40.6050203@hbz-nrw.de>
To: Neubert Joachim <J.Neubert@zbw.eu>
CC: public-lld@w3.org
Hello Joachim,

in the Email from Harry Halpin you attached below it is stated that
Netscape invented the first graphical browser:

"This is not to say good things can't come out of the academic
community - the *internet* came out of the academic community. But
seriously, at some point (think of the role of Netscape in getting the
Web going with the magic of images) commercial companies enter the
game. We should be happy now search engines are seeing value in
structured data on the Web."

But as I remember and Wikipedia[0] tells me:

"In 1993, NCSA released the Mosaic web browser, the first popular
graphical Web browser, which played an important part in expanding the
growth of the World Wide Web. NCSA Mosaic was written by Marc Andreessen
and Eric Bina, who went on to develop the Netscape Web browser."
while the NCSA[0] is:
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) is an
American state-federal partnership to develop and deploy national-scale
cyberinfrastructure that advances science and engineering. NCSA operates
as a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but it
provides high-performance computing resources to researchers across the

This is, in my opinion, just one mistake among others in Harry's Mail: I
honestly cannot share his enthusiasm (which in my eyes is simply
naiveté). See also the actual blog of Jeff Sayre, who first stated via
"Anything that makes the linking of data more prevalent on the Web I'm
all for! " and now states that that was a "less-than-thoughtful
response". His conclusion now:
"Although Web standards-making bodies are far from perfect, they are the
closest entity we have to offering open discussions. This is in stark
contrast to what Google, Bing, and Yahoo! have done with setting up
Schema.org. Their process is not open and they cannot be considered a
Web standard’s body."

In the original google-announcements it was stated that you should use
microformat *or* RDFa [3](reading the "or" as "exclusive or").This would
lead more or less to the death of RDFa as you can easily imagine. Now,
through massive pressure and protests from many developers and users out
there, it seems that this was changed so that it would be OK to use both
formats (citation needed). Thus, it pays to be critical.
But, will we be able to change the flaw that companies create (and
*solely* control!) standards? In my eyes, that is a paradigm shift for
the web-architecture we encounter here. It may be good in the short term
but I seriously doubt that it will be benefically in the long term.





Am 17.06.2011 09:48 schrieb Neubert Joachim:
> Harrys summary and the ongoing argument on http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-lod/
> could be helpful for our discussions, too.
> Cheers, Joachim
> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: public-lod-request@w3.org [mailto:public-lod-request@w3.org] Im Auftrag von Harry Halpin
> Gesendet: Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2011 23:09
> An: Linked Data community; Semantic Web
> Betreff: Schema.org considered helpful
> I've been watching the community response to schema.org for the last
> bit of time. Overall, I think we should clarify why people are upset.
> First, there should be no reason to be upset that the major search
> engines went off and created their own vocabularies. According to the
> argument of decentralized extensibility, schema.org *exactly* what
> Google/Yahoo!/Microsoft are supposed to be doing. It's a
> straightfoward site that clearly for how the average Web developer can
> use structured data in markup to solve real-world use-cases and
> provides examples.  That's the entire vision of the Semantic Web, let
> a thousand ontologies bloom with no central control.
> The reason people are upset are that they didn't use RDFa, but instead
> used microdata. One *cannot* argue that Google is ignoring open
> standards. RDFa and microdata are *both* Last Call W3C Working Drafts
> now. RDFa 1.0 is a spec but only for XHTML 1.0, which is not what most
> of the Web uses. Microdata does have RDF parsing bugs, but again, most
> developers outside the Semantic Web probably don't care - they want
> JSON anyways.
> Form what I understand from tevents  where Rich Snippets team has
> presented is that RDFa is simply too complicated for ordinary web
> developers to use. Google has been deploying Rich Snippets for two
> years, claim to have user-studies  and have experience with a large
> user-base. This user-driven feedback should be taken on board by both
> relevant WGs obviously, HTML and RDFa. Designing technology without
> user-feedback leads to odd results (for proof, see many of the fun and
> exiciting "httpRange-14" discussions). Which is also why many
> practical developers do not use the technology.
> But realistically, it's not the RDFa WG's job to do user-studies and
> build compelling user-experiences in products. They are only a few
> people. Why has the *hundreds* of people in the Semantic Web community
> not done such work?
> The fact of the matter is that the Semantic Web academic community has
> had their priorities skewed to the wrong direction. Had folks been
> spending time doing usability testing and focussing on user-feedback
> on common problems (such as the rather obvious "vocabulary hosting"
> problem) rather than focussing on things with little to no support
> with the world outside academia, then we probably would not be in the
> situation we are in today. Today, major companies such as Microsoft
> (oData) and Google (microdata) are jumping on the "open data"
> bandwagon but finding the RDF stack unacceptable. Some of it may be a
> "not invented here" syndrome, but as anyone who has actually looked at
> RDF/XML can tell you, some of it is hard-to-deny technical reasoning
> by companies that have decided that "open data" is a great market but
> do not agree with the technical choices made by the  Semantic Web
> stack.
> This is not to say good things can't come out of the academic
> community - the *internet* came out of the academic community. But
> seriously, at some point (think of the role of Netscape in getting the
> Web going with the magic of images) commercial companies enter the
> game. We should be happy now search engines are seeing value in
> structured data on the Web.
> I would suggest the Semantic Web community take on-board the
> "microdata" challenge in two different ways. First of all, start
> focussing on user-studies and user experience (not just visual
> interfaces, the Semantic Web has more than its share of user-hostile
> visual interfaces). It's harder to publish academic papers on these
> topics but possible (see SIGCHI), and would help a lot with actual
> deployment. Second, we should start focussing more on actual empirical
> data-driven feedback, both on what parts of RDF are being used and
> common mistakes. With indexes such as the Billion Triple Challenge and
> Sindice's index, we can actually do that with the Semantic Web. Third,
> why not actually try to get RDF - or "open data more broadly" into the
> browser in usable manner? Tabulator may be a step in the right
> direction, but the user experience needs work. Fourth, why not start a
> company and try to deliver products to actual end-users and give that
> feedback to the wider community and W3C WGs (and if you already work
> for an actual SemWeb company, please send your feedback from user
> studies to the WG before Last Call)? I believe the Semantic Web
> research community - which still has tons of funding and lots of
> passion - can make the Web better.
> Schema.org is not a threat. It's an opportunity to step up. Good luck everyone!
>            cheers,
>               harry
> P.S.: Note this opinions are purely personal and held as an individual.
Received on Sunday, 19 June 2011 00:40:35 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 20:27:44 UTC