Microformats are semantic markup

Microformats, while a relatively young movement, are an outgrowth of a movement that’s been going on for quite a bit longer. For years now, web developers and designers have been abandoning purely presentational markup in favor of structural markup. As you move away from presentational markup and towards cleaner, more meaningful markup, you open up the possiblity of having not only human semantics, but also machine semantics, which though they are two different things, can often be very similar (see the wikipedia for more on this difference).

Anyway, microformats make the most sense in this context, where we assume that web developers are somewhat concerned with semantic markup and have already gone through the steps of making their markup meaningful.

I’m thinking about this because of a discussion Chris and I had yesterday in the microformats irc channel, which Chris has already blogged about.

In essence, Chris was asking for a microformat for a use-case that doesn’t quite exist yet (at least for a majority of Web users). Of course, Chris is just gonna go off and invent that use case, which is great, but just not a case for a new microformat. Part of the idea behind microformats is to standardize and codify emergent, popular behavior on the Web. If some useage of the web is too nascent to have converged, we can’t easily codify it, so we choose to pass on the problem.

However, just because Chris’s use case wasn’t appropriate for developing a new microformat, doesn’t mean he can’t use preexisting microformats and his own idiomatic semantic markup. In fact, he really should, because if his project catches on, then we may want to create a new microformat in the future, at which time his work will be great prior art.

Of course, the appropriate cliché here, would be “paving the cowpaths.

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5 Responses to “Microformats are semantic markup”

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

    [...] O Technorati fez isso e é fantástico! A estrutura de hCard acima é parte de um padrão criado, usando tags semânticas com nome de classes padronizados. Uma vez padronizado, é possível reproduzir este padrão seguindo uma lógica, ou seja, de acordo com um significado previamente determinado, que é o que faz com que microformats seja algo semântico no aspecto mais abrangente possível. Coloque na sua cabeça que Microformats é semântica. [...]

    January 20th, 2006 at 8:31 am

  2. torresburriel.com» Blog Archive » Los microformatos son marcado semntico :

    [...] Microformats are semantic markup es un artculo que Ryan King escribe en microformats.org en el que nos cuenta cmo los microformatos y su uso son algo ms que un componente ms en la carrera del marcado semntico. Voy a tratar de explicar cules son sus argumentos. [...]

    January 22nd, 2006 at 3:21 pm

  3. Diário de Bordo #5 » Revolução :

    [...] Microformats é marcação semântica. Texto que fala em outras palavras o que eu estou falando aqui de vez enquando. [...]

    February 7th, 2006 at 10:23 am

  4. -TMA-1- » Blog Archive » links for 2006-02-26 :

    [...] Microformats are semantic markup (tags: Tech MicroFormats XHTML Markup Semantic) [...]

    February 27th, 2006 at 11:24 pm

  5. Pula Web :

    Either you are tool developer or content developer and a service developer by using microformats to add semantic markup your content offers important benefits such as plugins to add microformats to you web content. Check it out, very interesting.

    February 26th, 2007 at 5:38 pm