Blog Archive for September, 2005

Web Essentials Audio

Tantek‘s been at the Web Essentials Conference in Sydney the last couple of days. It appears the already posted the audio from his talks:

I haven’t listened to them yet, but I’m sure they would interest many of you.

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WebZine FollowUp

Update: I forgot to point something out about my slides- when viewing them, if you hit the little Ø character (in the controls in the bottom-right corner) to view an outline version of the presentation, which includes some notes, which should hopefully help the slides make more sense to those who weren’t present.

ryan talking

What an awesome weekend.

WebZine 2005 (my first WebZine) was a wonderful collection of technologists, activists, journalists and various other -ists. This mixture made for a an very fertile arena for discussions- discussions of everything from legal issues to obscure HTML markup (that was me!).

ryan talking

I think my presentation went over well. You can see the slides on line here. I’ve tried to add notes on some of the slides, so that those of you who weren’t able to show up in person could still get the grasp of what I was trying to communicate. However, if you find anything that seems confusing, please feel free to ask (either in the comments here or in one of our other discussion channels).
ryan talking

There are actually a few questions that came up in the presentation (thanks Cal and Simon!) that I need to take some time to explain in written from (because they’re important and someone dense topics). I’ll hopefully get to them in the next few days.

(Thanks to Scott Beale for the photos on the right.)

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Microformats Recycle

As Tantek and I were working the other night at Maxfields, we came up with an an analogy for descibing the microformats principles.

Just to review, here are the principles we use for developing microformats:

  • solve a specific problem
  • start as simple as possible
  • design for humans first, machines second
  • reuse building blocks from widely adopted standards
  • modularity / embeddability
  • enable and encourage decentralized and distributed development, content, services

We noticed that the principles tend to follow the .

Here’s a possible breakdown we came up with:

  • Reduce

    • solve a specific problem
    • start as simple as possible
  • Reuse

    • design for humans first, machines second
    • reuse building blocks from widely adopted standards
  • Recycle

    • modularity / embeddability
    • enable and encourage decentralized and distributed development, content, services

When reducing, we try to attack a specific problem, make it as simple as possible and simplify the format until it seems too simple.

When reusing, we try to model solutions on existing human behaviors and reuse existing widely deploy standards, names and approaches.

When we’re recycling, we try to salvage portions of other standards and make use of implicit schemas (ie, patterns which have yet to be formalized).

So, it seems that Microformats are really a conservation movement- conserving time, effort, and intellectual capital.

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Microformats at the PDC

Joshua Allen blogged the Panel on the Future of RSS at Microsoft‘s in Los Angeles, with great folks like Robert Scoble (moderator), Amar Gandhi (), Jeff Barr (Amazon), (start.com), Greg Reinacker (Newsgator), Mike Ehrenberg (MSFT MBS/CRM), and Doug Purdy. Two really great quotes that merit repeating here:

  1. Audience:

    KISS. If you keep extending RSS, at what point does it become just another XML protocol.

  2. Amar:

    It’s a vocabulary for representing data items; that seems a good place to keep it.

  3. Doug:

    Agreed. As soon as you start introducing information entities, you’ve gone too far.

Precisely. If you keep extending a specific language like with custom extensions, you end up with a mess and at worst, a Tower of Babel scenario. Keep RSS simple. It’s a nice envelope format for delivering a dated stream of items.

  1. Audience:

    As you introduce extensions, does this replace RDF? Do you need to handle schema for extensions?

  2. Amar:

    Talking about microformats with technorati, simple extensions and the social feedback loop. If you get into ontologies and taxonomy, it’s squishy.

Thanks for the kind mention Amar. I had the very good opportunity to meet with Amar and other members of the RSS team at this past week at the PDC and we had an excellent discussion about and how to use them to capture/publish “common” semantic structures in visible data, in HTML, RSS, etc.. Amar originally found out about microformats from Kevin’s post on Gnomedex calendar the microformat way.

Microsoft is one of the co-authors of , and it’s great to see Microsoft’s RSS folks get involved with microformats as well. Welcome.