Will Schema.org Would Limit Web Developer Choices?

June 10, 2011

We just don’t know. We noted on Slashdot the article “Schema.org—Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! Agree on Markup Vocabulary.” At first glance, this is another technical hoe down. The goal of standardization promised by Schema.org looks like a good move. The stated goal is improved search results. What could be wrong with that?

In reality, it’s a case of the big boys collaborating to make decisions for the rest of us, like in the good old days with Boss Tweed and Commodore Vanderbilt.

The Slashdot blurb points to Manu Sporny’s piece “The False Choice of Schema.org.” Sporny details the choices that will be lost by adopting this model. RDFa and Microformats would become unsupported, unnecessarily narrowing developer choice to Microdata only. The stated advantages of reducing complexity do not outweigh the losses:

Those [RDFa] features aren’t just there to be purely complex – they were specifically requested by the Web community when building RDFa. Microdata is lacking many of those community-requested features, which does make it simpler, but it also makes it so that it doesn’t solve the problems that the ‘complex’ features were designed for. RDFa is designed to solve a wider range of problems than just those of the search companies. Yes, complexity is bad – but so is cutting features that the Web community has specifically requested and needs to make structured data on the Web everything that it can be.

Because business success today depends so much on search ranking, few businesses are likely to resist the changes once in place. It’s possible, though, that enough protest now will cause the bosses to rethink their edict. As Sporny declares, “this is not how we do things on the Web.”

We also recall that Google has some serious standards horsepower working in the Googleplex. Is it possible that Google wants to move more quickly than the standard practice may be? Worth watching.

Stephen E Arnold, June 10, 2011

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, the resource for enterprise search information and current news about data fusion


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta