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DRAFT: RDF Web Applications WG Position on RDFa/Microdata Task Force

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2011 01:11:43 -0400
Message-ID: <4E15400F.5010404@digitalbazaar.com>
To: RDFa WG <public-rdfa-wg@w3.org>

This is an e-mail response from the RDF Web Applications Working Group
to the Technical Architecture Group at the W3C regarding a recent
concern[1] that was brought to our attention.

We have already submitted a list of people[2] that we believe should be
a part of the RDFa/Microdata Task Force. Additionally, we have had a
discussion[3] in the group about the intended purpose and goals of the
Task Force.

In general, the group believes that a unified approach to structured
data on the Web will reduce confusion in the marketplace and thus
accelerate the growth of Linked Data and the Semantic Web. The group
also thinks that the effort will be fruitless without broad
participation and implementation of the Task Force's findings.

The rest of this e-mail covers the concerns that the RDF Web
Applications Working Group has regarding the new Task Force and attempts
to provide guidance for addressing each concern.

CONCERN: Multiple specifications for the same task

During the TAG discussion, Larry Masinter produced a question that is at
the heart of the issue. "Does anyone want there to be more than one
structured data syntax published by W3C that accomplishes the same task?"

In hindsight, it was a mistake for the HTML WG to allow the publication
of two specifications that accomplish effectively the same task (from
the viewpoint of the public). It is natural that nobody wanted to block
the work of others - but since that hard decision was not made, and
since some very large companies are attempting to make that decision for
their customers, it is creating a great deal of confusion in the

It is advised that the the question that Larry asked is required to be
answered by the Task Force.

CONCERN: Consensus on "No Change"

There is a concern that the group will be provided with very difficult
decisions and instead of wanting to make a hard decision, they will
resolve to not change anything. This will be viewed as a failure of the

It is advised that a "no change" result should not be an option for the
Task Force.

CONCERN: Key implementers will choose to not be involved.

It is vital that companies that have deployed, or intend to deploy,
structured data are active participants in the Task Force. This includes
having the right set of people there as well as ensuring that they are
committed to the work of the group. The XForms/WebForms and XML/HTML
Task Forces largely failed in their mandate due to inactivity by major

It is advised that personnel from relevant companies are involved and
that those personnel have decision making power to enact change in their
organizations related to the Task Force findings.

CONCERN: Agreement and then non-action

It could be that there is agreement among the Task Force participants to
do something, but there is no follow-through. Solid commitments should
be made and the Task Force should follow-up to report on progress
regarding those commitments. Perhaps the HyperText Coordination Group
should play a part in this work.

It is advised that the Task Force gather commitments to enact change at
the end of the discussion phase and then follow-up and report on
progress regarding the commitments.

CONCERN: Slow creation of Task Force

The HTML WG expects Last Call to end in early August for the HTML+RDFa
and HTML+Microdata specs. Similarly, the RDF Web Apps WG was one week
away from entering Candidate Recommendation with RDFa 1.1. It is
questionable whether or not the Task Force will be able to be formed in
the near future. The announcement of this Task Force has effectively
placed a hold on work in both Working Groups. There is concern that work
that is done over the next 3 (or more) months will be invalidated by the
Task Force or by a formal objection by the TAG.

The note by the TAG is affecting both Working Group time lines. It is
imperative that the Task Force is put together quickly and performs its
work in an expedient manner, or is dissolved and another path forward is

It is advised that the creation of the Task Force is made to be a
priority of the TAG and the Director.

CONCERN: TAG Note is not actionable

There is concern in the HTML WG and the RDF Web Apps WG that the note
provided by the TAG is not actionable[4] without further information
from the TAG (formal objection or bug reports) or Task Force (findings
turned into bug reports). The result is that the Working Groups must
either ignore the TAG note until the Task Force has completed their
work, or halt their work until the Task Force has completed their work.

It is advised that the TAG submit a formal objection or that the TAG
submits a series of bugs for both HTML+RDFa and HTML+Microdata in
addition to RDFa Core 1.1 in the RDF Web Apps WG.


-- manu

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-rdfa-wg/2011Jun/0058.html
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2011Jul/0011.html
[4] http://www.w3.org/2011/06/30-html-wg-minutes.html#item09

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: PaySwarm Developer Tools and Demo Released
Received on Thursday, 7 July 2011 05:12:20 UTC

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