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Re: RDFa test case #1 missing @profile?

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@x-port.net>
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 22:49:46 +0000
Message-ID: <a707f8300803031449q3e7418daib48d80196bbc4cc8@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Norman Walsh" <ndw@nwalsh.com>
Cc: "Shane McCarron" <shane@aptest.com>, RDFa <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>

Hi Norm,

> I get the impression that no attempt
>  to persuade the working group to add a statement along the lines
>  "In order to be interpreted as RDFa, a document MUST have {some explicit
>  marker}", no matter how passionate, would succeed.

There are two separate issues being raised here:

 * whether a document can only be parsed for RDFa if there is some indicator
   in the document that it contains RDFa;

 * whether that indicator should be @profile, a doc type, or something else.

At first sight insisting on an indicator seems to be a reasonable
goal, and surely it couldn't break anything if we try to fulfill it?
Except the problem is that when chemists blog about their experiments,
and place those chemical symbols in their mark-up, the RDFa won't be
parsed by anyone browsing to their blog, unless the author has full
control over the web-page and can put the doc type or whatever into
the mark-up.

That unfortunately leaves us no further on than we were 4 or 5 years
ago, and makes the semantic web a tricky thing to realise.

To publish RDF you currently have to set up a triple store, or create
RDF/XML files that could be linked to from your web-pages (and
probably do content negotiation), or set up some additional XSLT pages
on your server to do GRDDL transforms, or edit @profile in your
documents to point to someone else's GRDDL transforms.

But the HTML publishing revolution took off when people stopped having
to configure servers, or edit and upload entire HTML pages, just to
add a comment about what they had for their tea.

So the question is why I shouldn't be able to publish RDF as easily as
I can write a blog, or use my CMS, or post to Twitter, or send an
email? In short, the core tenet of XHTML+RDFa is to leverage the HTML
publishing model, but use it to publish RDF. But we can only do that
if we don't insist that authors must have control over the entire
document in order to take part.

Which is why the RDFa taskforce took the approach that, whilst we
_allow_ for an RDFa indicator, and even suggest that it's used, we
don't make it mandatory.

>  You may record that the submitter is satisfied, at least for the
>  moment, albeit very reluctantly, with rejection of his request for a
>  change. And that he's taken an "I told you so" chip which he may play
>  later.

And with respect... ;)

I am totally and utterly convinced that if we *insist* on a doc type
we'll kill this whole thing dead in the water.

Best regards,


  Mark Birbeck

  mark.birbeck@x-port.net | +44 (0) 20 7689 9232
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Received on Monday, 3 March 2008 22:50:02 UTC

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