W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org > August 2009

Re: microdata feedback

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 10:41:13 -0400
Message-ID: <4A842609.3010804@digitalbazaar.com>
To: public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org
IBenjamin Nowack wrote:
> just to add an alternative view: I've been using eRDF, RDFa, and multiple
> homegrown RDF-in-HTMLs during the last years, none was really satisfying.
> Now I've tried microdata and it's actually a very refreshing experience. 
> ...
> So, before you dismiss microdata, maybe ask yourself if your arguments
> are mainly politically motivated, and, more important, build an app with
> it first before you argue in favor of other solutions. You might be 
> surprised.

Hi Benji,

Your feedback on Microdata is very useful. Personally, I have wanted to
attempt to write a SAX-based microdata parser in C (to test to see if
the HTML5 spec language, if followed word-by-word, is implementable). It
would be useful to run it through all of the use cases/test cases that
RDFa has to objectively verify/debunk what some see as fundamental
architectural features/flaws.

I would hope that anybody that speaks against Microdata is not
politically motivated. Even though Ian will assert that I'm being
dishonest by making that statement, I truly do think that both RDFa and
Microdata should be judged purely on their technical merits.

If any solution does a better job than RDFa, we should change, rethink,
or migrate to the new solution. Most of the people that I have seen that
are opposed to Microdata are so because they assert that it doesn't
achieve what RDFa does and could harm semweb adoption.

Of those that oppose Microdata, many assert that Microdata doesn't allow
for some fundamental semantic web concepts to be realized (enforcing
follow-your-nose for vocab terms, for example). AFAIK, without enforcing
follow-your-nose, you can't do data validation in a decentralized manner
(sure you could bake data validation into the parser, but that defeats
the purpose of a decentralized mechanism for data validation).

Your note is appreciated and I think you are right. Someone, with more
time on their hands than I do, needs to do more due diligence on
Microdata to outline objective criteria (things Microdata can/can't do -
things RDFa can/can't do).

Here's how it could be done:

1. Write a Microdata parser from scratch following the exact HTML5 spec
2. Mark up the entire RDFa Test Suite in Microdata (see which test
   cases cannot be marked up).
3. Apply microdata to the RDFa use cases.

Doing those steps, it would really help Ian make a better case for
Microdata. If Microdata can support the entire test suite, and it's
simpler for authors -- then Microdata will probably dominate in the
marketplace. Many, including myself, are asserting it can't support key
elements of the test suite and use cases... but I haven't done all of
the steps above.

Placing Microdata into the HTML5 specification was pre-mature... it
belongs in a stand-alone specification (RDFa belongs in a stand-alone
specification as well). Unfortunately, that's not how HTML5 is being
developed right now.

It would be nice if someone stepped forward and did steps 1, 2 and 3...
doing that would move us forward in the RDFa vs. Microdata discussion.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny) (twitter: manusporny)
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Bitmunk 3.1 Released - Browser-based P2P Commerce
Received on Thursday, 13 August 2009 14:41:55 UTC

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