2005, Year in Review

Just when you thought you wouldn’t have to read another “year in review” blog post…

2005 was an incredible year for the growth of microformats, in terms of specification, implementation, and overall awareness. The microformats.org community has produced some incredible results in just over six months of existence.

Simple microformats have found their way into several major search engines. Rel-license is indexed by both Yahoo and Google to help find content based on the page’s copyright giving another orthogonal key to search on. Vote-links showed their importance at the end of 2004 during the elections, and are indexed by Technorati to determine whether links from blogs are endorsements or not. Rel-tag and rel-directory are other simple microformats that have contributed to the building and indexing of folksonomies. XFN is now just over a two years old, and 2005 saw the emergence of the second (in addition to rubhub.com) XFN indexer and search engine: xhtmlfriends.net. XFN has seen a proliferation of uses throughout the web in 2005. Other simple microformats have been proposed, including one to determine when the last time a page was modified.

As for compound microformats, there have been three big ones that have been documented and have seen success. These are hCard, hCalendar, hReview. hReview is used to create reviews of movies, books, restaurants and many other things. Kritx.com indexes and aggregates hReviews and Yahoo UK uses them for their movie reviews. hCard is based on the vCard spec and has seen explosive growth this past year. Bloggers have used hCard to mark-up their contact information, but even more main-stream, Universities have marked-up their directories with hCards, Avon edited a single template and over 40,000 of their representative’s contact information is now easily machine readable. Eventful.com has published over 100,000 venues with hCards and even more events with hCalendar. hCalendar is a representation of iCalendar and allows for events to easily be extracted and imported into most calendaring programs. As bloggers talk about events and encode them in hCalendar, it allows events to be searched and aggregated across the entire web, as well as opening an RSS reader for news, today you might open an hCalendar reader to gather events. Eventful isn’t the only place to find hCalendar content, Upcoming.org, Laughing Squid and others all contribute to building a distributed calendar.

In 2005 several more compound microformats have begun, including hAtom and xFolk. hAtom allows you to encode a feed into your (X)HTML, so it is one and the same thing. xFolk is an open social bookmarking standard that would make it possible to easily collect social bookmark data and remix it to invent new services. Research is proceeding on a resume format, a citation microformat to describe publications, references, bibliographies, and a listing microformat to describe items for sale, for rent, or items people would like to buy.

As more and more companies add basic information about their business, search engines will be able to truly search based on more specific criteria such as zip code. Right now you search for “Pizza 63101″ and that will return all search results that contain the term “pizza” in the “63101″ zip code. Now with microformats you could limit the term “63101″ to ONLY the postal-code property and “pizza” only to the FN,N,CATEGORY, or ORG property (that would stop all the buildings on “Pizza Street” from appearing in the results). Next, it would be possible to further restrict the restaurants to only those with associated hReviews of 3.5 stars or higher. Finally, if the site has encoded any information with hCalendar, you could determine their opening/closing hours any special deals and offers for a given day.

2005 has laid the groundwork for all of this to begin, as a community we should be proud of what we have done, and excited about where it is going. As microformats grow, 2006 and beyond look very exciting!

11 Responses to “2005, Year in Review”

  1. Chris :

    Thank you. I bookmarked the feed for this site on day 1 and this is the first post I’ve seen that actually helps me understand what microformats are all about.

    Thanks.

    January 4th, 2006 at 5:57 pm

  2. سردال » نظرة على ميكروفورماتس في 2005م :

    [...] موقع ميكروفورماتس نشر موضوعاً حول ما حدث من تطورات تتعلق بميكروفورماتس في عام 2005، في عام 2006 سيزداد انتشار هذه المواصفات أتمنى وقتها أن تبدأ محركات البحث بتبني هذه المواصفات، لأنها ستجعل لعملية البحث معنى آخر، تصور أنك تبحث عن كلمة ما، فيظهر لك محرك البحث الكتب التي تتعلق بهذه الكلمة، كذلك المنتجات، الأشخاص، المناسبات والمؤتمرات، بدلاً من الاكتفاء بعرض عناوين صفحات المواقع، هذه إحدى فوائد ميكروفورماتس. بعض الحقوق محفوظة، هذا الموقع متوافق مع المعايير القياسية لتطوير المواقع XHTML وCSS، ويستخدم وورد بريس لإدارة ونشر المحتويات، إذا وصلت إلى هذه النقطة فأنصحك بأن تغلق الحاسوب، لقد وصلت إلى نهاية الإنترنت! [...]

    January 4th, 2006 at 11:52 pm

  3. Henrique Costa Pereira :

    Very nice! I start to contribute with Microformats writing in portuguese (http://www.revolucao.etc.br/archives/microformats/). Brazil say thanks! Cheers!

    January 5th, 2006 at 2:41 pm

  4. Tantek :

    Chris,

    Thanks for the kind words! Whenever you find anything about microformats which seem confusing, or you think could benefit from more explanation, please feel free to either add a question to the FAQ or send an email to the microformats discuss list.

    Henrique,

    I’m very happy to hear about and see your contributions in Portuguese. Would you like to help with a Portuguese translation of the Microformats wiki?

    Take a look at the Start a microformats wiki in another language section on the wiki, and if you have any questions, please write to the microformats discuss list.

    Thanks!

    Tantek

    January 8th, 2006 at 9:55 am

  5. Raw » This Week’s Semantic Web :

    [...] Microformats, 2005 year in review [...]

    January 9th, 2006 at 5:25 am

  6. Mike Linksvayer » Search 2006 :

    [...] Metadata-enhanced search. Yahoo! and Google opened Creative Commons windows on their web indices. Interest in semantic markup (e.g., microformats) increased greatly, but search that really takes advantage of this is a future item. (NB I consider the services enabled by tags more akin to browse than search and as far as I know they don’t allow combinging tag and keyword queries.) [...]

    January 14th, 2006 at 7:44 pm

  7. Microformats: o mundo de significado do atributo class » Revolução :

    [...] O Technorati e o Google são user agents. O Google já “interpreta” (só se interpreta aquilo que tem significado, certo?) certas especificações microformats bem como o Technorati como você pode observar nesta área de desenvolvimento dentro do próprio Technorati. Agora como funciona uma especificação Microformat? Bom uma delas, como o hCard, por exemplo, utiliza nome de classes como uma forma de meta-informação para descrever trechos específicos de um cartão de visitas. Veja o exemplo: [...]

    January 20th, 2006 at 8:29 am

  8. genevieve tucker :

    Hi, I’m a library student with an interest in markup generally – can you tell me if there are any microformats on the way which provide an ability to search blog posts on a topic across the Web by date? I saw an academic post on this recently as she wanted to be able to search in this way.

    January 23rd, 2006 at 10:16 am

  9. Kim M. Bayne :

    I’ve started using hReview on my blog and was pleased to see how quickly a recent review was indexed by kritX. Now I want to know when and if the big players will aggregate this content.

    February 3rd, 2006 at 1:47 pm

  10. Christophe Ducamp :

    I’ve dropped a first french draft translation here on shared wordsheet. If you’re ready to help to find out corrections, think it could help to seed a first french community of “microformateurs” ?

    December 24th, 2006 at 12:54 am

  11. Matthias :

    Thank you for that blog! It helped me a lot to understand what microformats are and what it is all about!

    July 1st, 2007 at 7:49 am