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Does XML convey semantics better than HTML?
Is the "Semantic Web" something even worth striving for?

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 8 posted 3:19 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

This thread is a fork from Mattur's post in [webmasterworld.com...]

Which I hope all will agree is a worthy discussion point, who is right? Is XML over rated? Is the "Semantic Web" something even worth striving for?

Mattur said:
"You don't need to use xhtml to achieve good SE results. And the semantic stuff doesn't really achieve anything unless everyone marks up their code consistently e.g. there is no w3c standard for how to markup breadcrumbs, global nav, local nav etc - presumably because these aren't semantic enough

And xhtml or xml gives ABSOLUTELY NO advantage to visually impaired users. None whatsoever. Most visually impaired people use IE with Jaws. Semantics doesn't come into it. It's really important that folks understand this cos otherwise people might start thinking that marking up in xhtml alone makes their content accessible. Accessibility is not a syntax issue.

I don't buy into the semantic web idea(l), as you've probably guessed"

Let the games begin.... ;)


BTW. If Mr. Berners-Lee would like to contribute to this thread, you'd be more than welcome ;)



WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 8 posted 7:42 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

XML <> Semantic Web

Why don't SEs just use meta description and keyword tags to determine ranking, like they used to back in the day? See Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia [well.com]. ;)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member blobfisk us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 8 posted 8:51 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

The semantic web is certainly an interesting idea, and one which I like. The use of XML has been closely associated with the semantic web, but it certainly is not all that is needed.

The more important thing (I believe) is the schema aspect - it is by using schemas that the 'agent' model of the semantic web would actually begin to get the 'meaning' from a web page.

Even with meta tags and descriptions, you need some way for your agent to get the meaning of those tags - that's why XML and a schema have been suggested.

I've just finished a IA report for a client for their Intranet and Enterprise Content Manager. We have decided to use a semantic IA and use XML metadata, so I am biased that way!


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 8 posted 4:26 pm on Jun 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

It can, but how many people add enough namespaces to their document to make it work? (Those namespaces include portions of the Dublin Core, RDF, OWL.)

The only way to make it actually work is to use XML, but there aren't any XML user-agents out there yet. (Gecko-based UAs are a small first step, but aren't anywhere close yet.)

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