Today, schema.org spokesperson Dan Brickley posted that "we're pleased to give advance notice of a new way of adopting schema.org's structured data vocabulary. W3C's RDF Web Applications group are right now putting the finishing touches to the latest version of the RDFa standard. This work opens up new possibilities also for developers who intend to work with schema.org data using RDF-based tools and Linked Data, and defines a simplified publisher-friendly 'Lite' view of RDFa."
Until now, it was only clear that schema.org would support the Microdata syntax, and the effect on RDFa and Microformats has been largely unknown. This announcement is no doubt welcome news to those wishing to use RDFa markup in conjunction with schema.org. This addition should significantly help Web authors who want to publish Linked Data as well as improve their search page results.
Manu Sporny CEO of Digital Bazaar, Inc. and Chair of the RDF Web Applications Working Group (the group in charge of developing the RDFa 1.1 specification), had this to say about the announcement:
"This is certainly great news and a testament to the W3C's ability to bring together feedback from the public, research community, and industry and create a solution that works for everyone involved. We have taken the feedback we received from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo very seriously and have been working non-stop to address their concerns. RDFa Lite was a result of that work. We will continue to work with Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex to fine-tune the standard to meet the needs of schema.org as well as publishers from around the Web."
One of the concerns raised early on by the schema.org leaders was that RDFa markup was too complex. Sporny talked about how the Working Group addressed this: "With RDFa 1.1, our focus has been on simplifying the language for Web authors. In some cases, we've simplified the RDFa markup to only require two HTML attributes to markup some of the schema.org examples. In most cases you only need three HTML attributes to express a concept that will enhance your search ranking... it's as simple as that."
As far as timeline of the standard, Sporny concluded, "With this recent announcement, we're on track to finish standardizing RDFa 1.1 within a few months from now."