[uf-discuss] rel -vs- rev

Toby A Inkster mail at tobyinkster.co.uk
Mon Feb 25 09:35:11 PST 2008

The following is part of the rel FAQ <http://microformats.org/wiki/rel-faq>

| However, given that the 'rev' attribute has been more often misused by
| authors than properly used (Google Code: Web Authoring Statistics: Link
| Relationships <http://code.google.com/webstats/2005-12/linkrels.html>)
| is it even a good idea to use rev at all? 
| The short answer is unfortunately "no". Use of "rev" SHOULD be avoided.
| However, VoteLinks' use of rev has been grandfathered since it was such
| an early use. No future microformats should be developed that use 'rev',
| and any use of 'rev' (apart from the "grand-fathered" case of VoteLinks)
| is deprecated in microformats.

This seems to me to have been an entirely arbitrary decision. Apart from 
the cited Google study, was there any other justification given for this?

Looking at the cited Google study it shows that, of the top twenty 
relationships used on the web, only one of them uses "rev" at all, and 
appears to do so correctly! The quoted rel="made" at position #21 in the 
survey is *assumed* to be an incorrect usage, though one can easily 
imagine plausible uses for such a construct. (e.g. a web designer's 
portfolio, linking to various sites that he's made.) So this study does 
not seem to show a significant degree of incorrect usage of rev.

Besides which, there are millions of pages out there that incorrectly use 
the alt="" attribute to produce tooltips, whether or not the contents are 
suitable as alternative text. Just because there are so many examples of 
abuse of the attribute, it doesn't make sense to avoid using it for its 
correct purpose. In fact, quite the opposite -- when an attribute is 
frequently misused, we ought to be using it correctly whenever possible, 
and encouraging others to do so as well.

rev, though not used particularly frequently is a very useful attribute. 
As an example, there is currently a debate on the xfn-brainstorming wiki 
page about what value of rel to use to link to "someone of whom you are a 
fan". Suggestions include:

	* rel="source"
	* rel="leader"
	* rel="influencer"
	* rel="idol"
	* rel="subscription"

Surely, a simple rev="fan" is far more elegant solution?

I think that rev offers great utility to microformats, and shouldn't be 
dismissed out of hand -- and certainly not based on the current evidence 
on the wiki! Ask not what you can do for your rev, as what your rev can do 
for you!

Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
[Geek of HTML/SQL/Perl/PHP/Python/Apache/Linux]
[OS: Linux, up 26 days, 23:23.]

                               Bottled Water

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