[microformats-discuss] FYI: two posting about the Semantic Web, the "SynWeb", scraping and microformats

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Oct 24 20:20:25 PDT 2005

On Tue, 25 Oct 2005, Danny Ayers wrote:
> if you've got something corresponding to, lets say, ten different 
> relational database tables, with ten fields each, lots of foreign keys 
> scattered, things are going to get messy. I'm sure it's possible in 
> principle, but for machine-machine communications, what is the advantage 
> in using a format that's been designed for human consumption?

None. But that's not the Web.

> A relational model of data that uses URIs as keys is the bottom line. 
> Doesn't matter what that looks like as a file format, as long as the 
> URIs are in there somewhere.

IMHO, that's the mistake. There doesn't need to be a relational model of 
data using URIs as keys.

Humans don't use URIs as keys.

Humans just want to write their information, *maybe* mark it up, *if 
you're lucky*, and stick it out there. They don't want to model it. They 
don't want to label it. They couldn't care less about URIs.

And that shouldn't (and doesn't!) matter. Search engines and other data 
mining tools are quite capable of grabbing the data out of this free-for- 
all. No need for any relational model.

Now, sometimes you do want to help the computers a bit, so that you can do 
slightly more with it. That's where microformats like hCard and hCalendar 
come in; they let you take data from well-known data formats (vCard and 
iCalendar here) and publish that data directly in HTML in a way that can 
be treated both as simple HTML, and as their original format (via a simple 
reverse format translation) -- the latter of which lets you stick the data 
straight into existing systems like your address book or calendar program.

But you don't need to go any further than that, IMHO. And certainly humans 
don't want to go any further than that.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list