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Re: additionalType property, vs extending Microdata syntax for multiple types

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2012 07:48:02 +0200
Message-ID: <CAFfrAFqu-0HHzOTM=XpDMZMgwHVLpRCswCcMu=bXqTxiOpK2yg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org>
Cc: public-vocabs@w3.org, "Martin Hepp (UniBW)" <martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org>, Peter Mika <pmika@yahoo-inc.com>, Ramanathan Guha <guha@google.com>, Jeni Tennison <jeni@jenitennison.com>
On 16 June 2012 06:55, Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org> wrote:
> On Jun 15, 2012, at 20:26 , Dan Brickley wrote:
>> HTML5 Microdata, as defined in
>> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/microdata.html#encoding-microdata
>>
>> ... has only limited support for describing multiple types that
>> something belongs to. In particular it requires they are described
>> using a single schema.
>>
>>
>> For Good Relations integration (and other scenarios) people have asked
>> for a way of listing more types within schema.org markup.
>>
>> * One model is to use RDFa 1.1 (Lite), where this is quite natural.
>> * Another is to add (as a workaround) a new property, e.g. called
>> 'type' or 'additionalType', to schema.org's vocab (Martin requests
>> this in http://www.w3.org/wiki/WebSchemas/GoodRelations )
>> * A 3rd is to stretch
>> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/microdata.html#items
>> to allow different namespaces to be used.
>
> I think that the third option is not obvious. The issue is that, in microdata, two notions, namely the typing of an item and the vocabulary used in that item, are conflated. The vocabulary information (hence the interpretation of the terms in the item) is deduced from the itemtype value(s). Hence the restriction in the current spec to restrict multiple types to be in the same vocabulary. Technically, it would be possible to declare that the order in the attribute's value counts, ie, the first type value determines the vocabulary, but that would be terribly error-prone and I hence do not believe it would be a good idea.
>
> It would require a more substantial change in the microdata spec (essentially introducing the equivalent of RDFa's @vocab) to solve that properly. I do not see that happening.

Yes. I think it is well appreciated that RDFa 1.1 handles this better.
 I don't think anyone expects Microdata to change a lot more, and I
don't see anyone with the energy/interest to keep pushing for these
kinds of changes/improvements in Microdata. As you say, it wouldn't be
easy. The "main type comes first" design was all I could think of,
too.

> Which leaves us with the first or the second option. I am obviously biased here, but I think the first option is clearly better in this respect...

The question is then, what do we say for all those publishers who are
on board the Microdata train? A lot of people have worked hard to get
colleagues/stakeholds (and tools!) adopting Microdata, over the last
year. While RDFa is a good thing, we want to be careful to support
early adopters too, and have sensible advice for them (other than
're-do everything with a new syntax'). Which is what makes
'additionalType' attractive. But the concern there is ... if we go
that route, validators/checkers will need to understand the attribute
since it is almost an extension of the underlying syntax...

cheers,

Dan
Received on Saturday, 16 June 2012 05:48:32 GMT

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