Noah et. al.,
The RDFa Task Force has not completed a formal reply to this document.
However, I wanted to get you some personal but more-or-less
authoritative feedback prior to your meeting this week. Sorry it is so
In section 5.1 this document discusses using RDFa to produce
self-describing HTML. First, thanks for including this important
emerging technology in your finding. I have only a few comments:
- The title and the section refer to HTML. To date we have not
defined RDFa in terms of HTML, only in terms of XHTML. Please be sure
that you are only referring to XHTML in this section.
- The last paragraph reads in part "For this example document to be
self-describing, the pertinent media type and the specifications on
which it depends must provide for the use of RDFa in XHTML; at the
time of this writing, they do not." The XHTML 2 Working Group
disagrees with this statement. The Media Type definition  indicates
that XHTML Family document types can use application/xhtml+xml. The
specification  defines XHTML+RDFa, a markup language. Further, the
specification declares that the document type is in fact part of that
family. The specification also (obviously) defines how RDF is embedded
in XHTML. So the specification, per force, defines the connection and
enables the use use of RDFa in XHTML+RDFa.
- You also mention in an Editorial note the XHTML namespace
document. The XHTML 2 Working Group and the RDFa Task Force are
investigating changing the namespace document so that it explicitly
refers to a GRDDL transform that would extract RDF from documents using
that namespace. This is dependent upon an XSLT implementation of RDFa
- one is currently in development. However, once complete we hope it
will satisfy your requirements in that a "follow-your-nose" approach
will render a document "self-describing". However, there has been some
discussion that having this in the XHTML Namespace Document (as defined
in ) will obviate the need for other announcement mechanisms to be
used in XHTML+RDFa documents (e.g., a DOCTYPE, SchemaLocation, @version
attribute on the root element, or whatever). I for one would welcome
input from the TAG on whether you believe this namespace document
alteration is sufficient.
- Finally, you have a reference to the Media Type declaration in
the last paragraph. However, it says "XHMTLMediaType" instead of
There may be other formal comments from the group in the future, but
these are all I have captured to date.
I'm pleased to announce the availablity of a new draft of a W3C TAG
Finding on "The Self-Describing Web". [1,2] There are a number of
significant revisions, most of which were motivated by suggestions made by
the TAG at the face to face meeting in February, 2008 . I have also
attempted to address the several suggestions I've received in email since
the previous draft  was published.
I expect that this new draft will be discussed at the upcoming face to
face meeting of the TAG in Bristol, and it's my hope that we'll find it
more or less ready for final publication. I know of at least two areas in
which a little bit of further cleanup will be needed:
* Tim Berners-Lee has asked me to include a diagram that he's prepared
that shows in some detail the "algorithm" used to explore information on
the Web. I have included it , but the only copy available to me is a
.png that is not suitable for editing or cleanup. There are at least a
few typos in it, and the size is a problem when printing. I'm hoping that
Tim can get me the source, or else can help me get a cleaner copy for
inclusion in the final finding.
* I have updated the discussion on RDFa , reflecting in part the latest
RDFa drafts [7,8] and also some guidance received from members of the
group(s) working on RDFa. I encourage members of the TAG to satisfy
themselves that the revised text conveys the right messages, and I of
course encourage those involved with RDFa to make sure I haven't
misunderstood their intentions. If that all goes OK, then we'll have to
decide whether to point to the RDFa working drafts, or else to hold up the
self-description finding until RDFa progresses. (FWIW: I'd really like to
ship the self-desc. finding).
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