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Writing Semantic Markup : Comments

By Joshua Porter, Richard MacManus

September 5, 2005


Dustin Diaz

September 6, 2005 10:14 AM

Nice to know there’s another solid piece on defining the vaugeness of semantics.
This is definitely another good article to point newer web developers (or educate the old ones).

Bogdan Manolache

September 6, 2005 11:29 PM

Great article on semantics. All web developers should read it.

Kimmo Tapala

September 8, 2005 1:13 AM

According to W3C, RSS stands for “RDF site summary”. Great article, though.

Joshua Porter

September 8, 2005 10:46 AM

Kimmo, you’re right, RSS did stand for “RDF site summary” back in the day. The more correct usage, however, is Really Simple Syndication. This is because RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 (the latest versions) are no longer written in RDF.

patrick h. lauke

September 8, 2005 3:38 PM

a minor nitpick: “What if I changed my first name to just be the initial

Joshua Porter

September 10, 2005 3:27 AM

Patrick, in using misspelling I was pointing to a machine’s inability to recognize names unless they are in some sort of digital dictionary, or unless a machine can correct for the misspelling. Humans, of course, can easily tell when something is misspelled, and would recognize it as a name in many cases.

So I was referring to recognition, not correction.

Jay Fienberg

September 14, 2005 2:13 PM

RSS 1.0 is “Rich Site Summary”, which is RDF.

RSS 1 is really a different branch than RSS 2, i.e., RSS 2 is not a new version of RSS 1, and doesn’t necessarily supercede the reasons for its use among those who use it (e.g., see The Role of RSS in Science Publishing).

There is a RSS 1.1 in the works, that is intended to be a new version of RSS 1.0.

Joshua Porter

September 17, 2005 3:56 AM

Thanks for the pointer, Jay. RSS 1.1 sounds interesting. Here is a summary of its purpose:

“This specification is therefore made available by users of the RSS 1.0 format who wanted to update the specification to make use of the latest features of RDF in order to reduce the redundancy in the format, and the ambiguity in the specification, while at the same time implementing a series of bugfixes from the lessons learned in developing the other descendent of RSS 1.0, Atom.”

Krasimir Makaveev

September 19, 2005 2:34 AM

Great article!
One little remark – the URL of the link that points to Google Sitemaps should be instead of (with letter “w” in lowercase).


October 2, 2005 12:58 AM

One thing that would be good to mention, is that XHTML itself is a well defined format for semantic writing.

Basic markup of headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, and cite tags is about as semantic as you can get – adding class attributes is generally only needed for conveying specific metadata in a more visible way (eg: class=“author”).

Joshua Porter

October 6, 2005 4:09 PM

maetl, xhtml does allow for very shallow semantics. Unless the tag set is augmented in some way, however, the expressive ability of the format is truly limited. That’s why there is so much energy into these other formats like structured blogging. In fact, there was a press release today: PubSub Introduces Open-Source Structured Blogging at Web 2.0

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