[uf-discuss] The need for a Trackback microformat?

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Sat Dec 3 10:23:25 PST 2005

On 12/2/05, Ryan King <ryan at technorati.com> wrote:

> > Enclosures have a different meaning. They are best compared to
> > attachments in e-mail. The enclosure is a part of the current
> > document and document+enclosure(s) should be seen as a whole. This
> > has great value when talking about blog posts (and hAtom) because
> > attachments are usually connected to a part of the page (a single
> > blog entry).
> >
> > I don't care where I point my profiles to, but rel-enclosure isn't
> > what I mean when I use rel="enclosure".
> I don't think your relEnclosure and http://microformats.org/wiki/rel-
> enclosure are that different, they're just explained differently.
> Also, I think they're close enough to be resolved. You want to work
> on that?

Perhaps rel-enclosure doesn't actually make sense long term. Given
that relEnclosure, AFAIK, was grafted onto RSS to allow for media
being "attached" to feeds, rel-enclosure doesn't make sense in your
regular browser-consumed webpages because we've got <embed> and
<object>. If RSS had been able to support inline rich media, wouldn't
those tags have sufficed?

It also seems that relEnclosure was about behavior on the client side
and less about semantics.

Let's presume for a minute that we've got infinite bandwidth and
infinite storage. In such a world, all embedded media (and hrefs)
would be able to be pulled in and cached automagically. In which case
the need for delayed media downloading would be much less, so even if
you're syncing your 8,000  feeds,  which all contain rich media like
podcasts and vcasts, you would theoretically be able to pull all that
data down anyway for later consumption.

So the question is, what is the most effective way to link to that
media? Indeed, will the media itself supplant the textual content of
the feed? Will feeds simply become the distribution method for rich
media or eventually get into a TV-for-the-web model where you pick
people to subscribe to and can "tune in" to an aggregate stream of
them whenever you like? I dunno, and I suppose I'm getting a little
off topic here.

So here's what I'm thinking when it comes down to it (now that you
know what I'm looking at in the future)... Shouldn't relEnclosures
just be converted to <object> or <embed> tags when they're pulled into
xhtml? Isn't that what the original intention (and indeed, behavior)
actually implies? Wasn't the original problem one of embedding rich
media in RSS and so therefore, relEnclosure is actually made obsolete
when ported to the world of XHTML microformats?

Anyway, sorry to go on and on, must be the Parisien air. ;)


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