[uf-discuss] HTML5, Microformats and RDFa

Scott Reynen scott at randomchaos.com
Tue Aug 26 07:00:02 PDT 2008

On [Aug 25], at [ Aug 25] 8:47 , Manu Sporny wrote:

> There have been several threads discussing Microformats, RDFa and  
> that are occurring on the WHATWG mailing list. The discussion  
> relates to
> whether or not HTML5 should depend on the Microformats community to
> solve HTML5's semantic markup issues, or if both Microformats and RDFa
> should be considered for semantic web markup issues.
> The start of the discussion is here:
> http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2008-August/015860.html
> and continues here:
> http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2008-August/015875.html
> I have authored a blog reply, stating that HTML5 should not depend on
> the Microformats community to develop all semantic web vocabularies,  
> the
> reasoning can be viewed here:
> http://blog.digitalbazaar.com/2008/08/23/html5-rdfa-and-microformats/


I agree it's unfortunate microformats, created to fill gaps in HTML,  
are now suggested as a reason to not fill those gaps.  That said, it  
seems to me you're misreading your opposition here.  Microformats are  
based entirely on HTML (which Ian fully understands, having  
participated early on in the microformats community), so the  
underlying argument being made against RDFa is that *HTML* is already  
sufficient, that there is no need for it to solve the wider problem  
RDFa would solve.  As Ian said (with no mention of microformats):

> It would be helpful if you could send a separate message that is
> specifically asking for the changes you desire, and explaining what
> problem it is they address, and what research shows that that is an
> important enough problem that we should address it.

Whatever shortcomings microformats or the process have should be  
irrelevant to making such a case for RDFa.  Microformats explicitly do  
not seek to solve the wider problem as RDFa does, so rather than  
trying to convince people that RDFa solves the problem better than  
microformats, I suggest you convince them that the wider problem would  
actually be useful to solve.  (That microformats don't solve it should  
then be self-evident, as microformats do not even attempt to solve  
it.)  I think comparing RDFa to microformats actually hurts your  
argument by suggesting they solve the same problem and reinforcing the  
notion that the wider problem RDFa seeks to solve is unimportant.   
Rather, I would interpret the mentions of microformats as an  
indication that people are missing the wider problem RDFa would solve,  
and focus on making that clearer, by talking about what RDFa does that  
microformats don't even attempt to do.


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