XML Europe 2004: RDF/XHTML: A new RDF syntax

01 Apr 2004

The first public presentation of RDFa.

This presentation by Mark Birbeck was given at XML Europe 2004.

(RDF/XHTML was eventually renamed RDFa.)

Presentation title: RDF/XHTML: A New RDF Syntax (link)

By: Mark Birbeck

Presentation abstract: We have two standards running parallel with each other; (X)HTML is the de facto standard for document markup, accounting for millions of items on the web. RDF is a standard for expressing metadata, which in turn provides a foundation for making use of that metadata, such as reasoning about it. Yet the former is very rarely the subject of the latter; meta information placed in the HTML family of documents is often encoded in such a way as to make it difficult to extract by RDF-related parsers. And if it cannot be extracted, then it cannot be used.

RDF is about statements and triples. There are a number of syntaxes which can be used to express these triples, such as N3 and RDF/XML. However, there are a number of problems with incorporating any of these syntaxes into XHTML, including validation issues, ease of authoring and therefore HTML community acceptance, and browser support.

This paper describes a new (1 March) meta-data module for XHTML2 that makes it easy for processors to extract metadata as RDF triples, but without putting an unnecessary burden on authors familiar with HTML.

While RDF/XHTML has been specifically designed for use in XHTML2, it is easy to apply to any XML markup.