[uf-discuss] HTML5, Microformats and RDFa

Ben Ward lists at ben-ward.co.uk
Tue Aug 26 13:01:45 PDT 2008

On 25 Aug 2008, at 19:47, 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.

I've been out of touch with HTML5 development for a bit, but the way  
you describe this paragraph is somewhat alarming.

We, the microformats community, absolutely *should not* be relied on  
the fill every gap in HTML. That they would not specify minority  
concerns in the HTML language is perfectly understandable, but the  
Microformats Community is itself not designed to do that either. This  
community, with this development process, is completely inappropriate  
for filling every single extended use for HTML that people might have.

HOWEVER, there may just be misinterpretation here. Perhaps rather than  
intending to depend on our specific community, the intention is that  
the gaps be filled with ‘microformat-like patterns’. Patterns, class- 
patterns, ‘posh’… whatever you want to call it. Microformats.org does  
not own the class attribute and anyone working on techniques that are  
incompatible with our process can do so.

It seems to me the case is not about ‘microformats.org’, but instead  
about the capabilities of the class attribute itself. Is it just that  
the word ‘microformats’ is being used as a generic catch-all for  
semantic class name patterns?

It seems quite reasonable that the HTML working group be considering  
the use case of ‘extended semantic description in HTML’ and  
considering its existing capabilities (which are proving very capable  
in the specific case of microformats), rather than a use case of  
‘support RDFa in HTML’, which is just one solution.

I think Scott is correct in that you may need to reframe your  
argument. Any push to have RDFa made a part of HTML5 should be focused  
on the capabilities of RDFa compared to the class attribute, not the  
(often intentional) limitations of one particular user of the class  
attribute (us).


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