back to article Drupal 7 dives into machine-readable web

The machine-readable web has come a step closer thanks to open sourcers in the Drupal community. Drupal 7 has received sign-off - finally - adding the ability to embed semantic meta-data into sites using the open-source content management system. That means Drupal 7 is adding native support for the W3C's RDFa - a set of XHTML …


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  1. Gareth

    Default to allow

    This is more exciting than just another acronym being implemented... RSS benefited greatly from being switched on by default in WordPress as it was no longer something that only techie types went to the trouble to enable. RDFa by default in a major CMS platform is a huge step forward for the semantic web.

  2. Ben 50

    Sorry, WHO's first and second?!?!?

    Would you care to provide some evidence for the claim that Joomla is more widely used than Drupal?!?

    ... and calling Wordpress a CMS is a bit of a push - excellent for blogging, great for small sites, but seriously, do you know WTF you're talking about?

    1. JeffV

      Yes, as usual the Reg knows WTF they are talking about

      TheReg is probably right.

      Here are the Google trends on Wordpress vs Joomla vs Drupal.

      The claim that Drupal powers more than 1% of the web comes from Dries Buytaert, leader of the Drupal project. He started a project to build a crawler to categorise sites, and Marc Seeger finished it. Marc wrote his thesis about the crawler. In Dries's April 2010 Drupalcon speech, he revealed that a crawl of the top million sites showed Drupal at 1%. His slides are online. It doesn't say so on the slides, but he also spoke about Joomla and Wordpress stats. I was in the audience, and I remember WP being at about 8%, and Joomla being at about 3. I'm fairly sure about WP, I'm less certain about Joomla. However, Drupal at that stage was definitely behind Joomla.

      This also feels right - Drupal is typically used for more complex sites than Joomla. Naturally there will be more less complex sites, so we can expect that there would be more Joomla sites.

      The Google trends graph shows that Joomla is dropping in the search rankings, but it's still well above Drupal. Of course this isn't necessarily a reflection of the use of the different CMSs, but I can't think of any sensible reason that it couldn't be.

      With regard to whether Wordpress is a CMS. The majority of my business is built around Drupal and I'm heavily involved in the Drupal project. However, one of my clients uses WP very successfully to run their online industry specific newspaper. It's not a heavyweight CMS, but it's definitely improving all the time, and the latest version supports structured data. Remember that it wasn't Habitat that bought Ikea; it's the job of us Drupal developers to make Drupal easier and nicer to use than Wordpress. Drupal 7 is a good step in that direction. The user interface is better, but we still have a way to go to meet Wordpress. On the other hand, the structured data handling in Drupal 7 is in another league compared to Wordpress.

    2. Ejit
      Thumb Down

      You need a title?

      Well the article seems to concur with this report:

  3. Deadly_NZ
    Black Helicopters

    Oh really.

    In a statement announcing Drupal 7, the Drupal Community said: "RDFa can add value by giving search engines more detail, details not visible to humans.

    And what details would these be? personal?? browsing history?? IP address? A LOT more detail please.

  4. Windrose

    Machine readable ... right.

    I do hope the author knows what the Drupal developers might have missed: HTML - and XHTML - are ALSO formats for encoding data in a machine-readable way ....

    RDFa extends the vocabulary, so to speak, but there's nothing technically new here. The assumption that people will suddenly create semantically rich sites with RDFa, when they never bothered doing so in the much simpler HTML, is naive. Sweet, but naive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windrose, you may have missed the point

      Windrose, I wonder if you are missing the point, more so than the author. Of course, HTML and XHTML are machine-readable—you might as well point out that plain text or MS Word documents are machine-readable, as anything must be that is used on a computer. This is not the point of the distinction, however. The former are designed to present data primarily for the consumption of humans, whereas RDFa is intended to present data to machines for further processing (which may or may not be processed into data that is readable by humans). I suggest reading the W3C RDFa Primer that was linked in the article.

  5. Greg J Preece

    Ease of use sounds good

    I've set up some sites for other people on the quick using Drupal 6, and while I like the system, the control panel is horrible! Not nice for an end user. I'll have to check out the improvements and get them upgraded.

    1. Kevin Bailey

      The thing with the admin area theme is that you can choose

      On the one hand - you can leave the admin area to use the same theme as the actual site - this is very is easy to use for many users as when they log in they see the actual site but have a simple 'Edit' button at the top of each page so they can update it.

      But I tend to switch the admin theme for all users to Bluemarine which is a nice clean one. I then make sure the users can only access things they need to keep the interface clean and easy to use.

      The only small problem is that when editing blocks the admin area reverts to the site theme to show where the blocks are - this has been a thorn for a while and I believe has been changed in D7.

  6. Yautja_Cetanu
    Thumb Up


    Go Drupal!!!!

    I'm well looking forward to what could seeing what could be done with RDFa. A random google search: suggests drupal is used more then joomla. But I don't trust that site for some reason.

    1. JeffV

      Click through the links

      If you click through the links, the stats show that the ranking on the front page is incorrect.

  7. JayBee

    So - What's the Point of RDFa Right Now?

    Interesting stuff, but apart from giving Google a helping hand are there any other available applications that can make some practical use of RDFa metadata in a web page?

    1. skyroski

      Web scraping

      It makes it easier for what a lot of web devs, owners and operators don't want - web scraping.

      Of course it might make search engines better at categorising but, realistically, I agree with some post above. It's not for everyone.

  8. Yautja_Cetanu
    Thumb Up

    Drupal! - Seems to use RDFa and I can almost imagine uses of that.

    One guy who advises the W3C in the UK at the Drupal 7 launch party showed a website where he could blog about a book and it would automatically pull the front cover image from amazon.

    1. JayBee
      Thumb Up


      Thanks for that Yautja_Cetanu - that's an interesting example.

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