Re: Visible MetaData == "Visible to whom?" was Re: Design Principles

On Mar 29, 2007, at 11:11 AM, T.V Raman wrote:

> Well said. Another good example of invisible metadata that later
> became "visible" and is a big success on the web is the use of
> the link element to point at
> RSS and ATOM feeds   in HTML pages; later, these became "visible"
> when browsers started showing an XML icon on pages.

Browsers do show an icon for feeds in the UI, but, the XML icon on  
web pages (which really should be an "RSS" or "Atom" or "Feed" icon)  
is an <a href> link in the content. Wouldn't it have been better to  
just use <a rel="feed"> instead of <link rel="alternate"> to discover  
feeds in the first place? Then no one would have to wait for special  
UI in the browser to see the feed links, and there would be no chance  
of an explicitly author-added link in the visible page content  
getting out of sync a feed specified in the <head> section.

So this is actually a perfect example of why visible metadata is  
better (and indeed HTML5 supports feed discovery on <a> elements,  
belatedly solving htis problem).


> Mike Schinkel writes:
>> Henri Sivonen wrote:
>>> On Mar 29, 2007, at 19:06, T.V Raman wrote:
>>>> A)  The metadata needs to be "visible" to the intended target.
>>>> B0- The metadata needs to be "invisible" to those it's not
>>>> intended for.
>>> The design principle aims to combine those cases when possible and
>>> reasonable. When metadata is rendered to the user under the usual
>>> browsing conditions, errors in the metadata are more likely to be
>>> noticed and fixed. Metadata that is not rendered under the usual
>>> conditions often gets copied as part of a template and is wrong.
>> This is an opinion that does a lot of damage to potential growth  
>> on the
>> web, I think. It is used as a weapon against introducing  
>> mechanisms for
>> metadata that may not be visible on the HTML page at the time of
>> introduction, but that can become "visible" via other means.  Again,
>> I'll point to as an example project whose goal is to
>> empower to use of significant semantic metadata, much of it being
>> "invisible" at first. I expect there will also be other tools that  
>> will
>> leverage metadata, not just
>> If mechanisms for adding metadata are empowered to be squashed by  
>> (IMO)
>> short-sighted principles,  then many of the potential future benefits
>> will be minimized.
>> -- 
>> -Mike Schinkel
>> -
>> "It never ceases to amaze how many people will proactively debate  
>> away attempts to improve the web..."
> -- 
> Best Regards,
> --raman
> Title:  Research Scientist
> Email:
> WWW:
> Google: tv+raman
> GTalk:,
> PGP:

Received on Thursday, 29 March 2007 18:22:17 UTC