[microformats-discuss] Web 2.0: Abused

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Sun Oct 2 13:18:31 PDT 2005

On 10/2/05 11:30 AM, "Ryan King" <ryan at technorati.com> wrote:

> On Oct 1, 2005, at 6:50 PM, Dimitri Glazkov wrote:
>> I would be interested to see list's opinion on this article:
>> http://www.digital-web.com/articles/writing_semantic_markup/
>> a Web feed is the simplest responses we can receive.
> Uh, no. There's still plain text, CVS, etc.
>> The utility of RSS results from a characteristic of its markup: it
>> is semantic.
> Really? What's the description? Is it the content? Or is it a part of
> the content? Or is it a description of the content?
> But I suppose they're just being nice to to RSS, before advocating XHML.
>> Over time, our usage of XHTML has drained it of semantics.
> Hmm, I believe it was actually the usage of HTML (2-4) that drained
> the markup of its semantics (or, at least, obfuscated them). XHTML is
> actually a return to more semantic markup and people who use XHTML
> tend to have cleaner, more semantic markup.

That's right.  They're quite wrong about that.  HTML shifted towards
presentation until the pinnacle of HTML 3.2, and since then, HTML has been
shifting back towards semantics HTML4 strict, XHTML etc.

This is what I meant by this article could have been written in 2000 or
1999, perhaps even 1998.

> And to echo Ernie's comment, they don't really use semantic markup here:
>> <span class="title">Web 2.0 Design: Bootstrapping the Social Web</
>> span>
>> <span class="author">Porter, Joshua</span>
>> <span class="author">MacManus, Richard</span>
> That would be much better as:
> <h1 class="title">Web 2.0 Design: Bootstrapping the Social Web</h1>
> <address class="author">Porter, Joshua</address>
> <address class="author">MacManus, Richard</address>

Right, but that would actually require them to have read the HTML spec or
bother learning about semantic (X)HTML.

> (and you could probably drop those classnames, too, since the
> elements carry similar semantics).
> And here they complete the strawman:
>> All meaning must come from class names
> Which is completely untrue.

Right.  Not only that, but I do think that the XML crowd are a little scared
by the fact that *more* semantics can be conveyed in a tighter structure,
with less duplicated data, using attribute values (as in class) than element

E.g. the way we can markup N and FN of vCard using *one* instance of the
name information in hCard, instead of *two* instances in both vCard and XML
variants of vCard.


Expect to see more straw-manning of the class attribute.

>> Embedding XML allows for richer data description than using just
>> XHTML because developers can define certain elements for whatever
>> application they¹re creating.
> Yay! more tower of Babel problems!


>> Despite these difficulties, several new XML formats are gaining
>> adoption. One example is Google Sitemaps.
> Google Sitemaps != new. They reused a standardized format used by
> librarians.


> Other than all those things, its not a *bad* article- I think they
> cover the material well (though they miss the details).

Overall, as it gets people to be more aware of the concepts of semantic
markup and want to code more semantic markup, it's a *great* article.

They're creating a need/desire for semantic markup which, if web developers
try to go down the path of plain XML everywhere, they'll realize the
problems therein and be left wanting for a usable, practical solution that
leverages what they already know.


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