[uf-new] Blog post on HTML5, Microformats and RDFa

David Janes davidjanes at blogmatrix.com
Sat Jan 24 14:43:32 PST 2009

On Sat, Jan 24, 2009 at 1:54 PM, Dan Brickley <danbri at danbri.org> wrote:
> +cc: Mark Birbeck
> On 24/1/09 17:04, Manu Sporny wrote:
>> Mark Birbeck (the lead technical mind behind RDFa) has written an
>> interesting piece about HTML5, Microformats and RDFa. In the piece, he
>> explores distributed semantics extension (RDFa/XHTML2) vs. centralized
>> semantics extension (uF/HTML5). It's an interesting post because it
>> outlines the two philosophies at play and how they're affecting the
>> next-generation of web semantics.
>> http://webbackplane.com/mark-birbeck/blog/2009/01/rdfa-means-extensibility
>> No surprises in his conclusion (he thinks RDFa is the way forward)...
>> worth a read, even for the die-hard uFers, as several interesting points
>> are made along the way.
> While there is some some interesting history in there, and plenty of design
> observations that I agree with, it's not a very helpful post, in terms of
> communication between diverse communities.
>        "The WHATWG for example are pursuing a much more monolithic approach
> with HTML5; they see no need for extension points, since the language itself
> will cover everything."
>        "The Microformats approach is also counter to the idea of 'extension
> points' that are open to anyone, since it, too, attempts to centrally
> control the creation of new formats, stifling the evolution of new
> vocabularies by specialists within their sectors."
> I fail to see how presenting microformat and HTML5 enthusiasts as control
> freaks is going to help anything. I know from talking with various
> developers from the WHATWG and Microformats scene that they simply don't see
> things this way.
> I can see why Mark might think this, but it's an needlessly provocative way
> of phrasing things. HTMLVery binary, them-and-us thinking, at a time when
> many "RDF people" are also working with microformat parsers, and many
> "microformat people" are also busy with RDFa, SPARQL, GRDDL and so on. It's
> also in a week when http://validator.nu/ acquired an experimental HTML5+RDFa
> parser for a no-namespaces/CURIEs subset of RDFa. While this might not be
> what everyone wants, that's the nature of compromise and collaboration. What
> we need right now is a sincere effort from all parties to understand and
> respect those they're arguing with, rather than picking fights and
> suggesting the worst motives lie behind every action.
> Mark, can you try to be a teeny bit more empathy-minded when writing about
> other communities' work? RDFa is good enough to stand on its strengths.
> cheers,
> Dan

Very interesting reading. One point though which I think eludes some
RDF people (to be a tiny bit provocative myself) is this: people don't
want a format that does _anything_, they want a format that does

Regards, etc...

David Janes
Mercenary Programmer

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