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Re: Design Principles

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 13:35:11 -0700
Message-ID: <63df84f0905291335p13caa36dm674d20f00ae5fd4d@mail.gmail.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Cc: Kornel <kornel@geekhood.net>, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, public-html@w3.org
On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 5:23 PM, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no> wrote:
> Jonas Sicking On 09-05-27 04.07:
>> On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 6:53 PM, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
>> wrote:
>>> Jonas Sicking On 09-05-27 01.49:
>>>> On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 2:56 PM, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
>>>>> Kornel On 09-05-26 16.06:
>>>>>> On 26 May 2009, at 12:18, Anne van Kesteren wrote:
>>>> So I definitely agree that the fact that UAs don't use the profile
>>>> attribute does not make it a non-cow-path.
>>>> The question is instead, do pages use the profile attribute.
>>> That is only one of the questions (see above).
>> The first two questions:
>>>>>  * HTML 4 /has/ a method for defining meta data profiles:  A single
>>>>>   web page that represents the profile. Do we need to change that
>>>>>   cowpath?
>> Is it a cow path? I.e. are there enough pages out there that *uses*
>> @profile (i.e. not just has something in the profile attribute)? For
>> example I wouldn't think that a page with only hCard data, but with an
>> XFN @profile counts as stomping a cow path.
>> If @profile isn't a cow path the above question doesn't seem to apply?
> You apparently did not understand what I said. At least you answered on the
> side of what I side. @profile is an attribute that links to /something/.
> That /something/ - profile pages - also exists and can be defined. Naturally
> there will be much fewer profile pages than there will be normal pages. A
> profile is just a URI that identifies a specification.

Sorry, I think I was unclear. I was not referring to how common
profile pages are. I was referring to how common pages are that uses
the profile attribute. I.e. how many pages contain a profile attribute
linking to something.

A cow path is formed when a lot of people use a particular feature.
The feature we're talking about is using the profile attribute. Is
there data showing that a significant number of pages have the profile
attribute set and thus use the profile feature?

>>>  Also note that the design
>>> principle talks about "consider cowpaths instead of inventing something
>>> new". It doesn't say "consider if something is a cowpath, and if it
>>> isn't,
>>> then consider dropping the feature".
>> IIRC there is also a design principle that talks about solving real
>> world problems.
> Of course there is. Here I was looking at the "cowpath" principle, though
> because I claimed and claim that it has been misused.

Sorry, I think I missed this, which could explain why we are talking
past each other. You might be entirely correct that people might be
misusing the cowpath principle. Can you point to where people have
been doing this so that maybe we can clarify the principle to stop it
from happening more.

>> *If* @profile hasn't solved any real world problems in
>> the decade that it has been deployed, I would think that we can claim
>> that it doesn't fulfill that design principle.
> This is not true. Profile solve a real world problem: Link to/inform about
> the profile you are using. The only other method that I know about is
> relying on heuristics and code investigation.

Since this is a already deployed specified feature (HTML4 defiend
@profile about a decade ago), so we should actually be able to examine
if it indeed solves a real world problem, and if it does it
effectively. If solves a real problem, then we should be able to find
many pages that uses the feature to solve the problem. If there
aren't, then otherwise the problem might not be an important problem
to solve, or @profile solves it in such a poor manner that people
haven't been able to use it correctly, or at all.

Is there data to show that there are many pages that uses @profile at
all, and even better, uses @profile to solve a problem.

However earlier in this thread Kornel pointed out another method
whereby processors can know that a page contains hCard data. Using
context provided externally. I.e. if I point a hCard validator to a
HTML page, that validator can guess that the page uses a hCard,
without looking at the @profile attribute. In fact, Kornel even
indicated that this method was common enough that he debated not even
warning about a missing @profile attribute in his hCard validator.

> You can also look at the RDFa specification, for instance. It includes a
> @profile link as part of the specification [1].
> It is said in the Design Principles that one should not use, as examples of
> "code in the wild", pages that are found in HTML tutorials, specifications,
> test cases etc. Such pages are not proof that anything is in use in the
> wild.
> That is fine. However, since @profile and profiles represents
> /specifications/, we can, in this case not avoid looking at specifications.

I think the wording here meant that we cannot look at the HTML4
specification, and tutorials describing HTML4, to conclude that
@profile is used.

We can indeed look at pages that use @profile, and the specifications
those pages point to using @profile.

I hope that clarifies things?

/ Jonas
Received on Friday, 29 May 2009 20:36:08 UTC

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