Code vs. data

Mark Pilgrim‘s play with the cite tag was a good demonstration of the power of semantic markup, or Million dollar markup, as he calls it in a follow-up.

He referes back to Jon Udell’s post about Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, who at a conference talked about RDF and the Semantic Web, and there said, “Look, putting angle brackets around things is not a technology, by itself. I’d rather make progress by having computers understand what humans write, than by forcing humans to write in ways computers can understand.”.

Google is using a code-centric approach, Mark argues: “Google doesn’t really have a choice. It’s their code, but it’s not their markup. So of course they’re going to invest money in code. It’s far more cost-effective to throw money at your own code than to try to get millions of independent developers to change their ways just to make your life a little easier.”

Mark’s own cite tag experiment is data-centric.
“This is the point: if you have million-dollar markup, you don’t need million-dollar code, and vice versa. But they’re not mutually exclusive, either; it’s a spectrum, and where you fall depends on what you need. Neither Sam’s code-centric approach nor my data-centric approach is inherently better. They both accomplish the same short-term result. Which approach is better in the long run depends on whether you are more likely to re-use the content or the code that parses the content.”

Good point, Mark.

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