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

Re: embed RDFa --> embed coolness into Yahoo search results

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 21:17:16 +0000 (UTC)
To: Ben Adida <ben@adida.net>
Cc: RDFa <public-rdf-in-xhtml-tf@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0903172107380.2690@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Tue, 17 Mar 2009, Ben Adida wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > If you think my dad will understand the above answers then you are 
> > wildly more optimistic than I am.
> Assuming your dad is not an HTML expert, did your dad come up with the 
> deviously built examples? It would be good if we stuck to one audience 
> at a time.

I think this illustrates a misunderstanding of how many people author 
HTML, CSS, and so forth.

A typical workflow goes as follows:

- Read a tutorial about a technology.
- Write a page A that works somewhat ok based on the tutorial.
- Time passes.
- Find another page that uses the technology and does something cool.
- Copy the markup from that page into page A.
- Poke at it mostly randomly until it gives the desired effect.

Authors end up exercising every part of the language, regardless of 
whether they understand it or not. This is why we have a responsibility to 
make the language as understandable as possible while still addressing all 
the use cases.

> > Either. From the point of view of authors there is no difference.
> From the point of view of an author who's no HTML expert, just copy and 
> paste the markup they give you. That's the point, right?

The markup will get changed, just like Digg's did, just like the example 
Yahoo wrote did, and in the process, if the language isn't something the 
author understands, it will likely get broken.

We need to invent languages that aren't brittle under copy and paste.

> I think it would be nice if a wizard of sorts could create the markup 
> for you, and I'll make the suggestion to them, that would certainly 
> help.

That doesn't help with maintenance of deployed content, which is where 
problems will usually get introduced.

> > Are you sure? Yahoo certainly seem this confused. Even their examples 
> > have errors (e.g. one gives details about video.swf but them embeds 
> > game.swf -- and their tool doesn't care, you can change it to talking 
> > about a URL on a totally different page and it'll still give the exact 
> > same result).
> Which test case are you referring to?

Any of them. The rel="media:game" can be about any resource, even 
cross-domain ones, and the tool will still report that game.

> > So when Digg says:
> > 
> > <img src="/environment/Climate_change_makes_us_boiled_frogs_says_Prince_Charles/t.jpg" 
> >      ...
> >      rel="foaf:thumbnail" 
> >      resource="/environment/Climate_change_makes_us_boiled_frogs_says_Prince_Charles/t.jpg" 
> >    />
> > 
> > ...it's not an error?
> Indeed it is, that must have happened in a recent upgrade, I'll be sure 
> to talk to them.

My point isn't that they made a mistake. My point is that the language 
makes the mistake easy to make, and hard to spot. (It took me quite a 
while to work out that the above was a mistake, and I still wasn't 
completely confident that it was when I wrote the e-mail.)

> I wish you spent half as much time trying to understand the useful 
> aspects of RDFa as you do trying to break it :)

I don't understand the distinction. How else can one evaluate a technology 
than by trying to work out what is wrong with it?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 17 March 2009 21:17:56 UTC

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