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Re: Discussion with Ian and Henri about HTML5+RDFa (part 2/2)

From: Ben Adida <ben@adida.net>
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2009 17:55:59 -0800
Message-ID: <497D182F.3000908@adida.net>
To: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
CC: RDFa mailing list <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>


Manu, Henri,

I appreciate the effort of this discussion, though I disagree with much
of Henri's points (as I have in the past). More importantly, I think a
number of these suggestions would do significant damage to the effort of
embedding semantics in HTML, and to at least one important web design
principle. And *most* importantly: the time for finding compromise on
issues of personal taste has come and gone.

I'm bothered by this desire to redesign based on little evidence. The
idea of specifically *not* allowing follow-your-nose flies in the face
of much of W3C's work and the recent TAG publication on the
self-describing web. High load on a W3C web server (due to poor
implementations) is not evidence enough to undo a major design principle
of web architecture.

(I can certainly agree with issuing some implementation guidelines that
say "don't de-reference unless you need to.")

On the issue of cut-and-paste: Creative Commons is, to my knowledge, the
biggest publisher of RDFa, and we haven't had much trouble getting users
to copy and paste proper RDFa. It's also been no problem getting folks
to add more complex ideas, like attribution name and URL (in fact, many
are pressing us to add more to our vocabulary, and we're being very
careful to do that only after serious consideration.)

The use case where someone copies and pastes partial HTML+RDFa from
someone's existing web site and gets upset doesn't ring true: the same
"problem" occurs in a much worse way with CSS, and no one seems to be
too upset about that. In addition, in a lot of cases where it *would*
make sense to copy and paste a chunk of HTML from one site to another
(Creative Commons, widgets, etc...), the prefixes are declared in the
same block of markup anyways.

It appears it mostly comes down to:

> Henri was certainly sympathetic to embedding semantics in HTML for
> everyone that needed the functionality (not just the 80% that
> Microformats addresses) in HTML. He believes that removing CURIEs would
> go a long way towards addressing his concern with the way RDFa is
> currently implemented.

Removing CURIEs is not an option at this point, given the existing
standard, the existing deployment (by folks including Yahoo),
backwards-incompatibility, and the lack of evidence for needing such a
change at this point.

If we were only a few months into designing RDFa with no implementations
or deployments, this discussion would make sense, as would some attempt
at finding a compromise based on personal taste.

But at this point, one has to present significant evidence of harm to
undo what otherwise seems to be working just fine.

-Ben

PS: Note that I do agree on DOM consistency, and I suspect @prefix will
fix that issue, as Manu mentioned. I've mentioned this to Henri in prior
conversations, I believe.
Received on Monday, 26 January 2009 01:56:37 GMT

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