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  1. #1
    Founder of Primal Skill Ltd. feketegy's Avatar
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    Question Microformats or RDFa ?

    I'm making a website where I wish to give 'meaning' to data.

    Which of the 2 approaches (Microformat or RDFa) do you consider better ?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict rochow's Avatar
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    Use the standard HTML tags to semantically markup the HTML. Done properly, everything on the site has meaning.

    Both of those are a waste of bytes IMO...

  3. #3
    Founder of Primal Skill Ltd. feketegy's Avatar
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    If a waste of bytes, than what is all the fuss about these formats ?

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    SitePoint Addict rochow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feketegy View Post
    If a waste of bytes, than what is all the fuss about these formats ?
    I see tons of people writing '<br clear="all" />' that doesn't mean I should.

    It's just hype, the same there was about iphones, xbox360's and everything else. There aren't too many people sitting on the fence, they either love them or hate them.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rochow View Post
    Use the standard HTML tags to semantically markup the HTML. Done properly, everything on the site has meaning.

    Both of those are a waste of bytes IMO...
    Not necessarily. For example (perhaps a bad one but you should get the point): How would you describe a calendar? As a table with a certain class applied to it and its fields. But who says that the next person understands the class in the same way as you do? That's the whole point behind initiatives like Microformats and RDFa (or the Semantic Web in general). To provide meaningful and generally agreed-upon metadata/description for content.

    I totally agree with you, that quite a lot of stuff can be semantically expressed using what HTML itself offers, but there are still tons of concepts that it can't describe. And this is where RDFa comes into play.

    Regarding the question, which one to prefer: This is right now a little tough. Microformats are in wider use, but RDFa is far more powerful. A downside of RDFa is that it requires its own extension to XHTML (a possibility which was one of the major points behind creating XHTML in the first place: to make HTML extensible). All by itself this would be a good thing, but I don't really know (since I haven't tested it) how modern browser react to at least a different DTD (if you want to enforce the standard-mode).

    I'd personally keep an eye on RDFa but also consider supporting content-negotiation in your application to privde an RDF-document if requested instead of the HTML output. This way semantic web applications can still use your semantic description while normal users can still use their old browsers.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict rochow's Avatar
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    Why would the calender even have classes?

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    How would you otherwise distinguish from for instance a table containing statistical data?

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict rochow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeroK View Post
    How would you otherwise distinguish from for instance a table containing statistical data?
    <table summary="what the table is about">


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    The point of all this is to keep it machine-readable (and machine-understandable) ;-)

  10. #10
    Founder of Primal Skill Ltd. feketegy's Avatar
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    How would you write RDFa exactly? Does it need different XHTML markups than the standard HTML ? I mean with Microformat you would use <div class="... etc.

  11. #11
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    In general RDFa tries to embed RDF into HTML without having to replicate content. The primer has a couple of good examples: http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-rdfa-primer/

    This has the advantage, that you can choose from a large pool of available ontologies (like FOAF or Dublin Core Elements) in order to describe content.


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