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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.


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  

> -- 
> 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 UTC

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