Re: Underline element.

On Jan 6, 2008 12:00 AM, Lachlan Hunt <> wrote:
> Beyond the typographical convention of italicising ship names in English
> prose, what compelling use case is there for extracting such a ship name
>   from such prose?  Why would an author have any desire to add such
> markup using a custom vocabulary that few tools, if any, will understand
> and even fewer users would have any use for?
> It seems to me that simply using <i> for the ship name (perhaps using a
> class name for additional styling purposes) fulfills the the
> typographical convention use case, without the unnecessary addition of RDFa.

RDFa may be 'unnecessary', but eventually you get to the point where
the whole of HTML is unnecessary - just use ASCII instead. The HTML
WG, in it's wisdom, have decided that web authors do not need any kind
of RDF-in-HTML solution, despite the fact that there exist a small but
growing number of authors out there who use the existing solutions
(eRDF, GRDDL and RDFa) on their sites.

If the HTML WG has it's way, HTML 5 will break this existing content
(what? "Support existing content"?!) in a misguided pseudo-pragmatic
attempt to unpave unused cowpaths and misapply the Pareto principle,
and leave those of us who wish to publish an HTML document that
describes an underlying RDF structure unable to use HTML 5. Unless
HTML 5 starts supporting some kind of embedded RDF solution (RDFa,
head/@profile for GRDDL), I will not use it and continue to publish
HTML 4 and XHTML 1.0/1.1 instead - and suggest to people that they
avoid publishing HTML 5.

The success of shows that HTML has as a strong part
of it's future use as a data format as well as simply being the
document format of the Web. The HTML WG seems to think of Microformats
as a rather strange anomaly rather than a sign of how HTML/XHTML will
become a compelling data format in the future. For that to happen, we
need a way to support both the common 'pave the cowpaths' approaches
(the inclusion of the date-time element is a small win) and niche,
user-generated innovation, which providing support for things like
head/@profile and RDFa allows. Not all data formats will be created by, which has to be an extremely conservative force -
publishing only that which will become widely adopted.

I think the use of RDFa along with the Operator toolbar in Firefox is
pretty good evidence itself of the power of the sort of distributed
innovation that can happen when you let users experiment with


Tom Morris

Received on Sunday, 6 January 2008 07:56:01 UTC