[microformats-discuss] Microformats and the Semantic Web

Danny Ayers danny.ayers at gmail.com
Thu Aug 11 02:16:28 PDT 2005

On 8/10/05, Ryan King <ryan at technorati.com> wrote:

> > My observation is that accessibility engenders adoption.

Assuming you mean ease of use, yep, I'm sure this is a big factor. But
definitely not the only one. Things like fitness for purpose, utility,
tool support, vendor support, timing, documentation, evangelism
(including hype and FUD about alternatives), and maybe just plain luck
play big roles. Barely a day goes by without my looking at a PDF doc,
yet that's hardly the most friendly format. Email message format is
relatively simple, but the docs (RFC 2822) aren't exactly friendly.
Blog trackback format (RDF/XML hidden in XHTML comments) has to be one
of the clunkiest designs ever (no fault to Ben Trott, there wasn't an
obvious alternative at the time) yet seemingly within seconds of
Movable Type supporting it, every blogging tool under the sun
supported it. The same can be said about the blogging and pingback
APIs - truly ugly formats, with much simple alternatives (doc-oriented
XML over HTTP) yet with huge adoption. RSS 2.0 is usually quoted as an
example of a successful 'simple' format, yet Microsoft's Channel
Definition Format was a simple predecessor complete with widespread
impementation (in Win95) but it didn't take off. Whereas RSS 1.0, with
its more complex syntax, is supported virtually everywhere RSS 2.0 is.

> > The nice thing about microformats is that, while they sacrifice a
> > lot of representational power, they maintain the valuable core
> > proposition of representing data in familiar markup constructs.

Agreed, that is a huge plus.

> > People familiar with the standard html toolset look at that and say
> > to themselves, "I can at least attempt it".  I'm not sure as many
> > people say that when confronted with RDF.

I'd put that down to presentation - the fact that microformats can be
viewed as RDF formats is significant.


> For dev problems and solutions, we have the microformats-dev list and
> http://microformats.org/wiki. What are we lacking?

Cool demo applications that use the stuff. I'll be building mine with RDF ;-)




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