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Re: Telecon Agenda - November 10th 2011, 1400 UTC

From: Toby Inkster <tai@g5n.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 11:53:20 +0000
To: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Cc: RDFa WG <public-rdfa-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20111110115320.4b41747c@miranda.g5n.co.uk>
On Wed, 09 Nov 2011 11:20:43 -0500
Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com> wrote:

> 2. @property proposal
>     http://www.w3.org/2010/02/rdfa/wiki/PropertyAndTypeof
> 3. @typeof proposal
>     http://www.w3.org/2010/02/rdfa/wiki/PropertyAndTypeof

I'm not sure whether or not I'll be able to attend, but shall try. In
the mean time, here are my thoughts on the proposed changes.

Executive summary: -1.

Details: There are several reasons I object to these changes. Firstly,
and I think most importantly, they create too much magic. They make the
behaviour of @property dependent on whether @href/@src/@resource are
present on the same element, and in some case dependent on whether
@typeof is present too.

RDFa already has some magic - such as the absence of @rel/@rev allowing
@resource/@href (and now @src) to set a subject for triples. Personally
I think we should be aiming to *reduce* the amount of magic in RDFa,
not increase it.

Secondly, this breaks backwards compatibility with RDFa for a perceived
benefit that I think is imaginary. The idea appears to be to make RDFa
closer in syntax to Microdata because Microdata is (supposedly!)
simpler. But even if we make RDFa as (supposedly) simple as Microdata,
I don't see how that does RDFa any favours - it still doesn't provide a
compelling reason to use RDFa over Microdata. And I don't see how it
does Web authors any favours having two, almost identical, but still
subtly different syntaxes for achieving the same thing.

Even if we succeeded in making RDFa syntactically similar to Microdata,
what then? What's our selling point? Why should people use RDFa? Aren't
Microdata users going to say, "OK, so RDFa is similar to Microdata
now... so I'll just keep using Microdata then. Because at least it
doesn't have a track record of breaking backwards compatibility with
every minor revision."

So to summarise, I think these changes would make RDFa more
complicated, not simpler; I think the ultimate aim of these changes (to
make RDFa more popular) would not be achieved by them, and Web users
would not benefit from the changes; and I think breaking backwards
compatibility in such a fundamental way would actually be detrimental
to RDFa's adoption.

Toby A Inkster
Received on Thursday, 10 November 2011 11:52:39 UTC

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