W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > site-comments@w3.org > October 2009

Re: New W3C Web Site Launched

From: Michael Hausenblas <michael.hausenblas@deri.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 09:48:36 +0100
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
CC: <site-comments@w3.org>, <chairs@w3.org>, <w3c-ac-forum@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C6FCA074.9439%michael.hausenblas@deri.org>


Thanks for the background information. Please let me ensure you (and Ian)
that I very much appreciate the work the team has invested. Great effort and
I'm now even better aware of how hard it was to achieve.

Indeed, I have expressed my concern with my DERI AC Rep hat on. Not because
I think this makes the statement stronger or more important than a personal
opinion, but because I discussed with my colleagues here first and it is my
duty to communicate these concerns.

Now, summing up - very nice work, especially given the tight (if existent)
budget and the legacy as outlined by you. I'm sure with the great team
around Ian we will see even more advances and even more W3C standards being
used on w3.org and we are happy supporting the team (esp. regarding RDFa ;)


Dr. Michael Hausenblas
LiDRC - Linked Data Research Centre
DERI - Digital Enterprise Research Institute
NUIG - National University of Ireland, Galway
Ireland, Europe
Tel. +353 91 495730

> From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
> Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2009 10:23:18 +0200
> To: Michael Hausenblas <michael.hausenblas@deri.org>
> Cc: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, <site-comments@w3.org>, <chairs@w3.org>, W3C
> Members <w3c-ac-members@w3.org>
> Subject: Re: New W3C Web Site Launched
> Hi Michael,
> On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 9:50 AM, Michael Hausenblas
> <michael.hausenblas@deri.org> wrote:
>> Ian,
>> Indeed, very nice job re design and usability. However, I think we should
>> also take into account what our 'customers' think [1], [2]:
>> "so, are #semanticweb standards too complicated when even the new #w3c site
>> doesn't use them? #stopsnakeoil"
>> "@iand apparently all of them: No (obvious) RDF export, no SPARQL API. Just
>> some (broken!) hCalendar items."
>> This is indeed a poor message we send out - why don't we eat our own
>> dogfood? We have a couple of nice standards (RDFa, GRDDL, etc.) in this area
>> and should well be able to demonstrate that we are able to use them, IMHO.
>> Sorry for spoiling the party, but given the broad uptake of semantic
>> technologies in the governmental area (US, UK), the eCommerce domain
>> (GoodRelations), linked data stuff and Google and Yahoo! processing
>> structured data, I can't seriously explain to my colleagues or other W3C
>> customers why we don't have structured data (preferably in RDF) available at
>> the new W3C site.
>> Thoughts, anyone?
> I appreciate your passion for SemWeb deployment, but I suspect you
> have underestimated the massive amount of work involved in getting us
> to this first - major - milestone in the modernisation of www.w3.org.
> The team who got us this far deserve only thanks. Perhaps also beer
> and cakes.
> W3C's site is amongst the older major Web sites in continuous
> operation, certainly the only to take link maintainance seriously over
> such periods of time. If you include its custody of the earlier
> materials from the original CERN WWW site, it is also a gateway to the
> Web's earliest days.
> The W3C site is a living dinosaur, a treasure trove, and a
> maintainer's worst nightmare. This isn't your ordinary Web site
> update; it's like trying to plan a party on an archaeological site of
> world heritage!
> Have a rummage in
> http://www.w3.org/History/1992/timbl-floppies/TimBerners-Lee_CERN/hype.tar.Z
> for example. You'll find early copies of http://www.w3.org/People
> (which is also related to the '94-frozen
> http://www.w3.org/People.html). Imagine being the poor soul trying to
> figure out what to do with HTTP redirects for a site with this amount
> of historical baggage.
> Also btw in 
> http://www.w3.org/History/1992/timbl-floppies/TimBerners-Lee_CERN/hype.tar.Z
> btw you'll find other treasures hidden away, eg. a paper
> 'hypertext/Conferences/HT91/Paper/Paper0.html' entitled "An
> Alternative Architecture for Distributed Hypertext" by T. Berners-Lee,
> R. Cailliau, N. Pellow, B. Pollermann. The last line of which is "We
> hope that this situation will allow freer interchange of information
> in the High Energy Physics community, and allow de facto standards for
> interchange formats to arise naturally."
> (...naturally arising standards, eh? :)
> The Technical Reports page represents the interdependent and massively
> interlinked work of thousands of person hours spanning decades,
> records of fragile consensus and painstaking engineering. As the rest
> of this thread demonstrates, it is not a site that can be edited
> casually or whose many and varied stakeholders will sit quietly by
> while things are changed.
> W3C being W3C, every tag and CSS style, every use of javascript or
> images or selection from competing (X)HTML flavours, is open to
> massive and potentially endless scrutiny. The site has never been
> backed by a content management system beyond CVS and there has never
> been much centralised control of anything beyond the homepage. I have
> only admiration for anyone brave and foolish enough to attempt to
> bring this amazing pile of chaos up to date.
> Obviously there's a lot still to do. It's a Web site, that's always
> the case. But this is a huge improvement, and the start of something
> very interesting...
> Personally I hope the site will gain a bit more RDFa, of course. But I
> suspect that's more likely if people like you come with some very
> specific scenarios that will benefit users of the site. Perhaps making
> some search utility with Yahoo SearchMonkey or Google Snippets, for
> example. But there are also other competing priorities for the site,
> and a team working with limited resources. I'm glad they shipped
> things at this stage so that bugs can be fixed and the basics
> stabilised. If RDFa is useful (and it is), it'll find it's way into
> the site I'm sure...
> And while I'm on my soapbox ---- to those who are routing their
> concerns 'officially' via AC reps, I encourage you to just raise the
> matters personally here, as individual and lets presume equally valued
> members of the Web standards community. W3C is what we all make of it.
> If we act as if all concerns need to be bubbled up through a rigid and
> official hierarchy of contractually-backed relationships, we'll get a
> W3C culture that emphases the corporate over the communal, and whose
> structure neglects the individuals who make it special. If we act as
> if we're all here because of a shared concern for improving the WWW,
> W3C culture (alongside it's Web site) will slowly evolve towards a
> more individual-centric approach. I see no evidence that the w3.org
> Web team listen preferentially to "official complaints" from AC Reps
> compared to those from "mere" members of the W3C standards community,
> and every reason to believe that the Web team take every issue on it's
> merits, and are doing their best to balance a very tricky set of
> competing requirements. So, again, nice work!
> cheers,
> Dan
>> [1] http://twitter.com/bengee/status/4856670048
>> [2] http://twitter.com/bengee/status/4856830531
> --
> http://danbri.org/
Received on Thursday, 15 October 2009 08:49:18 UTC

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