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

Re: A proposal for establishing an RDFa IG

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 05:24:59 +0000 (UTC)
To: Ben Adida <ben@adida.net>
Cc: RDFa Developers <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0907090509310.1976@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Wed, 8 Jul 2009, Ben Adida wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> >> Therein lies the problem. We want to work on RDFa and address real 
> >> use cases without being dependent on Ian.
> > 
> > Which use cases does microdata not address?
> The problems with microdata have been addressed before by others, I'm 
> not going to spend the time going into them yet again.

I'm not aware of any use cases that microdata doesn't handle. There have 
been issues raised, but none are use cases that aren't addressed. Since 
you claimed the problem was to do with addressing "real use cases", if 
there really are some, I would be very grateful if you could elaborate on 
what they are.

> But let's stop this pretense that there are two proposals of equal value 
> on the table.

I don't claim that; I think microdata has more value. :-) If I didn't, I 
wouldn't have introduced it.

> While RDFa was getting adoption and traction, you pulled microdata out 
> of thin air, with no community development, because of some dubious 
> claims regarding RDFa (claims that, as we're showing progressively, are 
> very easily addressed).

I don't think it's fair to dismiss a year's worth of community involvement 
as being nothing.

Nor do I think it's fair to cast the concerns that have been raised 
regarding RDFa as dubious, and nor am I aware of any serious effort to 
actually fix all the problems, only some of the more eggregious ones like 
the use of xmlns="". For example, I'm not aware of any plans to remove the 
prefix mechanism from RDFa altogether, or replace the URI-based identifier 
mechanism with something more friendly.

> Meanwhile, RDFa has been deployed by Yahoo, Google, the UK government, 
> Creative Commons, the US government, Slideshare, and many more.

RDFa has existed for much longer than microdata (FPWD in 2007, if I'm not 
mistaken), so one would expect it to have greater deployment. The 
microdata proposal has existed for barely a quarter, and hasn't ever even 
been published in a W3C draft.

> It's time to standardize what a number of players clearly already want.

A number of the players I've spoken to, including some that you list, have 
told me they do not actually _want_ RDFa, they just used it because it was 
the only option they had at their disposal.

However, if I'm wrong about this, and they really do want RDFa, then the 
microdata proposal will die on its own merits and it will eventually be 
removed from HTML5, just as we've removed many other features in the past.

Personally I'm not overly interested in the use cases for RDFa and 
microdata; I wrote the microdata part of the spec because there was demand 
for something to address those use cases and the people I spoke to about 
this reported significant issues with the leading solutions in that space, 
Microformats and RDFa. So I don't really care all that much if microdata 
is ultimately successful as a standard or if RDFa gets more adoption or if 
some third solution is found to be better than either. I'm just doing what 
I can to address use cases for HTML5, in the same manner as I've 
approached every other part of the spec, adopting existing ideas and 
solutions where possible, adapting them if necessary, and inventing new 
stuff otherwise, all while trying to follow a design philosophy of 
backwards compatibility, comprehensive and unambiguous conformance 
requirements, simple language design that tries to address the main use 
cases but not the edge cases, and so on.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 9 July 2009 05:25:37 UTC

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