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Re: Petitioning ISWC to allow Web friendly formats

From: David Karger <karger@mit.edu>
Date: Mon, 06 May 2013 12:00:59 -0400
Message-ID: <5187D3BB.6020901@mit.edu>
To: beyond-the-pdf@googlegroups.com
CC: Sarven Capadisli <info@csarven.ca>, Linking Open Data <public-lod@w3.org>, SW-forum <semantic-web@w3.org>

On 5/6/2013 11:07 AM, Sarven Capadisli wrote:
> On 05/06/2013 03:33 PM, Leonard Rosenthol wrote:
>> On 5/6/13 9:24 AM, "Sarven Capadisli" <info@csarven.ca> wrote:
>>> On 05/06/2013 02:55 PM, Leonard Rosenthol wrote:
>>>> What format(s) are being used today that are not "web friendly"?
>>>> PDF, for example, is a formal and official part of the open web.  In
>>>> fact,
>>>> it is a normative reference in the HTML5 specification from the W3C.
>>> "Web friendly" here refers to native to the Web.
>> Again, PDF is an official part of the open web - as defined by the W3C.
>> How much more "native" is there??
> I think you are well-aware of what I'm trying to say but I'll clarify. 
> HTML works better with the rest of the Web architecture than PDF. The 
> point of using HTML as one of the important blocks is that; it can be 
> semantically enriched with RDFa, Microdata, or microformats. The same 
> document can be presented in a variety of ways with CSS for each 
> consuming device if needed. JavaScript can be used to bring in 
> additional interaction with the document e.g., one changes the sample 
> data on the page to see how an algorithm works. A whole suite of 
> technologies that can work in a variety of ways to represent or mine 
> the underlying data.
> PDF is a standard and also welcomed on the Web. However, it will 
> always be a second class format where one has to interact with it. 
> There is too much overhead for consumption. How many browser 
> extensions are there again to display a PDF in the browser?
you don't need an extension; pdf.js will do it in any modern browser.
pdf also supports links and incorporated javascript.
I will grant that HTML is much more "developer-friendly" in its legible 
source code, but I'm not sure that's a big enough deal to get excited over.
What may matter a lot more in practice is the fact that HTML doesn't 
hard-code a "page" size, so it can reflow to fit different displays.  I 
suspect that is what will kill pdf in the long run. But again, I don't 
know that we have to explicitly fight for it.
> That's the nativity of HTML that I'm talking about. Is the contrast 
> clear?
>>> Given that generalization, PDF is not as Web friendly as HTML and
>>> friends,
>> That is a definition that YOU have chosen. It is not one that is used by
>> any official standards body, government regulation, etc. As such, 
>> it's use
>> creates confusion amongst the uninformed user and that's certainly
>> something none of us want.
> You are right. That is the definition that I chose, but I'm not the 
> only one. If you will, it is an axiom in order for us to talk about 
> other things. If we can agree on a more precise axiom, I'm welcome to 
> it. I sincerely did not intend to cause confusion!
>>> Proving this is a trivial exercise as we simply have to
>>> look at how information is exchanged today across the globe, and how 
>>> our
>>> communication has changed drastically (arguably for the better).
>> And that's certainly an excellent endeavor.  But you need to be sure to
>> phrase things in that manner or in ways that properly and accurately
>> reflect your goals.
> You are right. I'm trying :)
>> If you want to talk about (X)HTML-like formats as a set of formats for
>> content delivery - that's perfectly reasonable and enables you and 
>> others
>> to focus on the specifics of your desires (and the issues that it also
>> brings up).   But using a term such as "web friendly" says nothing and
>> only creates confusion.
> I thought my description was self-evident but I surely see that it can 
> not only cause confusion but be incorrect. I'll work towards clarifying.
> The underlying discussion here is that, as researchers working on the 
> Semantic Web / Linked Data (if you can bare with me on this for the 
> time being), many, like myself, should have some entitlement to submit 
> their publicly funded works to conferences that are about the Web 
> technologies.
> Again, this is a mere request from conferences to say "we also welcome 
> HTML and friends for research submissions". If this request is in any 
> way inappropriate or so far-fetched to making contributions to the 
> field using our own technologies, I'd love to first know precisely 
> why, and second, figure out how to work towards it.
> No one is trying to stop anyone from submitting their work in PDF. I 
> would appreciate it if we are not stopped from submitting our work in 
> a way that plays well with the rest of the Web stack.
> Is that reasonable?
> -Sarven
Received on Monday, 6 May 2013 16:02:57 UTC

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