2004-12-09

TrackBack oddity

Why does the TrackBack specification say to check the dc:identifier attribute of the Description element when the rdf:about attribute already specifies the resource that the description is about? This duplication of information is a little puzzling.

Perhaps it has something to do with this, which describes a change from an earlier version of the document, and seems to suggest that originally the rdf:about attribute was misused by a twisted reversal of the RDF triplet:

In the RDF, the TrackBack Ping URL should now be stored in the trackback:ping element, rather than rdf:about.
Further investigation via archive.org's Wayback Machine confirms that this is true.

If the rdf:about attribute had been used correctly in the first place, it would make more sense; the Dublin Core attributes would not be required, and we'd end up with something like this:

<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" xmlns:tb="http://madskills.com/public/xml/rss/module/trackback/"> <rdf:Description rdf:about="http://example.com/2004-12-25T12:14:13Z" tb:ping="http://example.com/trackback/2004-12-25T12:14:13Z"/> </rdf:RDF>

However, I'm hesitant to drop the DC attributes as I'm not sure how many blog systems actually follow the recommendations of the spec and check dc:identifier over rdf:about.

Of course, a simple <link rel="trackback" href="http://example.com/trackback/2004-12-25T12:14:13Z"/> would have been easier. ;)

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