[uf-dev] XBRL, XHTML, Microformats and context-aware computing

Diane Mueller dmueller2001 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 12:06:18 PST 2007

First, thanks for all the efforts you and your colleagues have put into the
Microformats specification and all the groundwork that you have laid that I
would like to now exploit..

I'm chairing of a technical working group on Rendering within the XBRL
consortium and we currently have a work effort going on around writing up a
specification on Microformats for XBRL.

As you may already know, XBRL gives us a rich semantic base for financial
reporting and all things finance. Think Yahoo Finance on steroids, and you
can begin to see the potential here for making the metadata and semantics of
finance and accounting accessible to the masses. The US SEC just funded the
taxonomy development efforts for the entire US GAAP - and it was just
released for Public Review last week. So there are some huge potential here
- and the rest of the world's regulators are actually further along than the

So I would like to pick your collective brains a bit to ensure we are on the
right path here - the 'happy path' so to speak.

We are hoping to release a Public Working Draft in early January - but we
currently have a rather circular debate going on in the Working Group
regarding XHTML validity. The debate centers on how 'microformatty' we want
our specification to be.

The debate is central to whether or not we will go down the 'Microformat'
approach or create a specification for Inlining XBRL into XHTML.

One of the approaches put forward is more of a Inline mashup rather than
Microformats approach - this mashup approach is much easier to write an XSLT
to extract valid XBRL from the XHTML. It's simpler, but it doesn't follow
allow for the creation of valid XHMTL. It uses additional namespaces which
cause the XHTML to be invalid.

So my questions are:

How important is valid XHTML?  Did you and your colleagues go down this
path?  If so, where did you end up?

Should we sacrifice XHTML validity for ease of processing? If so, does this
preclude us from partaking in the microformats standard work efforts?

What microformat use cases call for strict XHTML validity?

What potential use cases for Microformats for Financial Reports could you
dream up that might require strict XHTML validity?

There are a lot more subtopics, I'd like to connect with you on them with
all of you, but first I have to marshal the group to a consensus on this
XHTML topic,  any thoughts you can share would be most helpful.

Diane Mueller

Vice President, XBRL Development
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