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Re: Why bound prefixes are an anti-pattern in language design

From: Elias Torres <elias@torrez.us>
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 20:16:49 -0400
Cc: RDFa Developers <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>
Message-Id: <6AC2AFDB-691E-425B-A7C8-C0B018C4584E@torrez.us>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>

On Aug 11, 2009, at 7:41 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:

> On Tue, 11 Aug 2009, Elias Torres wrote:
>>
>> I'll admit that you're onto something when seeking a hands-down  
>> simpler
>> solution for extensible metadata in HTML5. I wish everyone involved  
>> in
>> this could let the arms down for a little bit and try to come up  
>> with a
>> better solution. Of course, the dream is that such solution wouldn't
>> totally disregard existing deployments because it can re-use existing
>> test cases and user behavior. It should also take into account the  
>> 'hard
>> evidence' you have accumulated through yours (and others'  
>> experiments)
>> on what works and what doesn't. However, I think that making  
>> something
>> up new (definitely based on some of your hard evidence, yet not  
>> really
>> tested at least as much as RDFa) is simply not the best solution  
>> moving
>> forward.
>
> Note that Microdata was originally based on RDFa.

True dat.

>
> I agree with everything you say above. If anyone has any suggestions  
> on
> simplifying microdata even further, I'm certainly open to suggestions.

See me raising the issue below to make microdata simpler.

>
>
>>> [reverse DNS identifiers and URIs]
>>
>> All of my intro simply to say that it's really confusing when you  
>> say stuff
>> like: "I included both". I think this part is really the crux of  
>> the matter.
>> You should be consistent and suggest something because you have  
>> data or real
>> past user experience to prove it's better and not include "both" to  
>> leave
>> things up to personal taste.
>
> For some things -- e.g. identifying Web pages -- URIs are clearly
> preferable. For others -- e.g. predicates -- shorter strings are IMHO
> preferable. I don't see a problem with having both.

Clearly nobody is arguing using URIs for identifying Web pages. But I  
believe you were talking about predicates and allowing the use of both  
URIs and reverse DNS identifiers. I hope you don't miss my main point  
in the last email.

http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html#selecting-names-when-defining-vocabularies

Maybe I'm simply raising the issue that Microdata should only allow  
one type of name since you and others mention many tangible and  
personal-taste issues with URIs, I think that it might be easy to  
prove that less options that effectively do the same as in your  
example, the better. Kind like Perl's !@#$~,.;- vs Python's whitespace.

For instance, if Jon and Adam both write content at example.com, at http://example.com/jon/ 
... and http://example.com/adam/... respectively, then they could  
select identifiers of the form "com.example.jon.name" and  
"com.example.adam.name" respectively.

>
>
>> I thought HTML5 was about not making the mistakes of the past. If you
>> leave this up to choice, then maybe we need RDFa AND Microdata in  
>> HTML5
>> so people can choose, but obviously I believe that would be mistake
>> (without even thinking of which one is right or better).
>
> We _do_ have RDFa and Microdata, and people _can_ chose. I don't see a
> problem with this.

Do you really see this as the long run solution in HTML5 to have/allow  
both? In other words, is Microdata here to stay? Would we waste time  
by trying to find out which option has been adopted the most in let's  
say 3 years, easier to use, blah blah in order to drop one or the other?

>
>
>> I've been watching all of this prefix discussion around RDFa hoping  
>> to
>> see an improvement on CURIE, but nothing jumps out yet. One obvious
>> choice is not to have them at all and keep identifiers small.
>
> That's my preferred solution also.

I'm not speaking on behalf of the RDFa TF, but simply wondering if  
CURIEs/prefixing would be out of RDFa, what other issues would you  
have with RDFa today? (sorry for invoking the Lazy-Ian-Web, since I  
know you have stated them before). Of course, this might matter  
depending on your answer to the previous question (are both specs  
staying?).

>
> -- 
> Ian Hickson               U+1047E                ) 
> \._.,--....,'``.    fL
> http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _ 
> \  ;`._ ,.
> Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'-- 
> (,_..'`-.;.'
>
Received on Wednesday, 12 August 2009 00:17:37 GMT

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