W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org > February 2009

Re: RDFa Questions Answered (part 1/N)

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 21:22:28 -0500
Message-ID: <49A359E4.8070902@digitalbazaar.com>
To: RDFa mailing list <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>
CC: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
My $0.02 as an RDFa adopter:

Ben Adida wrote:
> There are a number of talks on RDFa, with slides and videos. Here are
> two that I found in < 1 minute:
> http://rdfa.info/talks-about-rdfa/
> http://labs.creativecommons.org/2008/06/18/ccrel-joining-man-and-machine-presenting-cute-dogs/

So, is it a bad sign that I had never really seen this stuff? Or if I
did, I didn't remember seeing them? I can't find them on the RDFa wiki
anywhere, are they there?

This is exactly what I'm talking about - I know the information is
probably there in all of that stuff... but giving people links to slides
doesn't get us to critical mass. Asking them to do a Google search and
to see what comes up doesn't help either because they need a good,
structured starting-point.

However, something like this does move us closer to that goal:


> But there's a deeper issue here: when did this become purely about
> advocacy? Sure, we can always improve the material, and I agree that we
> should make an effort here.

It has not become purely about advocacy, and it never should. I didn't
mean to imply that - all I was getting at was that, as developers and
tech-heads, we tend to think we're doing a good job at advocacy, when in
fact, we're not really reaching the people we need to reach (web
developers and designers).

> That said, this is a technical discussion in a standards group. I expect
> folks to spend *some* time reviewing the existing body of work and research.
> There are hundreds of conference and journal articles about RDF, many of
> them about practical considerations and implementations.

I can say that I have never, once, read a single conference or journal
article on RDF... PhDs do that sort of stuff... not web developers and
certainly not web designers. Everything that I have read about RDF has
been via the web... and it took a /very/ long time to get up to speed
and understand the issues.

> It's not okay
> to expect that everything worth considering has already been digested
> into a beautiful 10-minute YouTube video (the first few google hits for
> HTML5 are certainly involved [1]). In a technical discussion within a
> standards group, it's everyone's individual job to learn by reading some
> of these technical articles.

Even I wouldn't know where to find the right set of articles that would
give me a full understanding of RDF and RDFa.

> Not everything, of course. Ian and other folks on the WG certainly don't
> need to become RDF or RDFa experts. But I believe that, in general, the
> important players of the HTML5 WG bear some responsibility to learn on
> their own the various areas of web research, and that includes the
> semantic web and RDFa, especially when RDFa appears in the HTML WG
> Charter. That's part of being a standards group editor/leader.

Yes, absolutely agreed and I do think that Ian and Henri are making a
significant effort to understand RDFa in more detail. Both in online and
offline conversations that I've had with both of them.

I was primarily identifying something where we might have thought that
we were being helpful, but missed an opportunity to educate because we
made the assumption that Ian knew where to find this information. We
made that assumption, partially because we've been steeped in this stuff
for so long that we forget how hard it was to learn it in the first place.

The RDFa wiki really needs to collect these resources together in some
sort of coherent structure. If anybody has some spare cycles, filling
out the Developer FAQ would really help to get that ball rolling. When
we respond to most of these questions, it should be with a URL to the
wiki, not a long e-mail explanation and not a suggestion to "Google it".

I agree with the essence of what you said, Ben... I just think that
there  are some specific things that the RDFa community (not the RDFa
Task Force) could do to help adoption rates.

-- manu

Manu Sporny
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Scaling Past 100,000 Concurrent Web Service Requests
Received on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 02:23:08 UTC

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