Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Purpose of CSS in the Semantic Web

The Term Web x.x is overused like the bottom of a shoe, and because of such a
term, its scoffed at, laughed at, and generally made fun of on any tech site or twitter you can find. 
However, the term does have some importance attached to it.

"Web 2.0"
would best be defined as the Internet for Design.  Web 2.0 cares more about the Design
side of pages.  The Fancy fonts used, the rounded borders, the interactivity (AJAX!). 
That is definitely what Web 2.0 is all about.

"Web 3.0" is all about
Semantics.  The important part is that the code can be extracted via a machine or script or
something.  Here, standards take importance.  XML, Microformats; we have to have standards
that dictate how to write our code so that a program like href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4106">Operator can pull the relevant
information from it.

Now, once we have a code like that, CSS becomes VERY important. 
We need to use CSS to position our elements and colour them to make them look useful to the viewer, not just
the machine, while still having machine readable code.

You see what I'm getting at? 
If you still don't understand, try opening a random XML or RSS file (without a CSS, XSL, or XSLT file) in
Opera.  That's actually perfect rendering of an XML file, and that's what it would be to any
ordinary user.

Thankfully, Microformats were designed with Human Readability in mind, so
they will properly work (bare minimum) with the HTML that is used with them, but, obviously, CSS is
important to make it look like something nice.

So, now you know, the importance of CSS in
the Semantic Web. ;)

Important Links:

  • title="Microformats" href="http://www.microformats.org/">Microformats Homepage
  • title="CSS3 Information" href="http://www.css3.info/">CSS3 Information