Blog post format challenge (was Re: [microformats-discuss] Weblog entries and forum posts)

Tantek Ç elik tantek at
Sun Aug 14 12:18:34 PDT 2005

On 8/14/05 5:04 AM, "Mark Rickerby" <coretxt at> wrote:

>>> Microformats are based on practical, first-hand experience.  Theoreticians
>>> and academics need not apply.
>>> You've got until your next post on this thread to start a blog and post a
>>> few times before you get called on it.
>> Tantek, no offense meant but that sounds a little harsh to me.
>> I agree that having a blog is very, very benefiting when you are about
>> to work on a blog posting format, but you can also have valuable
>> experience of existing practice just from reading blogs.
>> I don't understand why someone *must* have a blog to be allowed to take
>> part into this discussion.
> Maybe it does sound harsh, but it's also realistic and practical... To
> understand what a blog format needs to be, you really do have to
> actually work with the markup in a real situation. Theres just no
> other way to come to terms with the requisite balance of semantics and
> design.

Right.  One can talk about how to be a great skater all one wants, until you
strap on those skates and try it for yourself, you won't have a clue as to
what you really need to learn to be a great skater.

So yes, I'm making fun of those folks that are talking about skating but
refusing to try them on.  This isn't a spectator sport folks.

> Perhaps I missed something on the wiki, but one thing that I'm failing
> to see with the blog format discussion in particular is an answer to
> the question "why?"...


That's a wonderful thing to add to the wiki page, and I encourage you to do

Add a "purpose" section, and ask that rhetorical question of "Why?".

Hopefully those that think we *do* need a blog post microformat will step up
and answer with their own reasons.

> I feel much more comfortable with the idea that blog markup should
> refect the individual and unique structure of the concept and site
> design itself - primarily, it should reflect the intended
> presentation/structure of the writing (the *meaning* behind the
> content).

Sure, there is no harm in that.  The point of a blog post microformat would
be to overlay whatever such existing expressive markup there is.  The two
could be complementary.  The class attribute makes it quite easy to do that
(ironically, while generic XML elements do not - dig).

> Everyone has different goals and motivations for publishing
> content on the web, and the concept of what a blog actually is in
> general may be amorphous and hard to nail down, despite the fact that
> there are common structures and patterns in widespread usage (the
> year/month/day format of archive URLs might be the best example of a
> widespread pattern)...

Sure, and following that 80/20 is just fine.

> I guess what I am saying is that it's the content that's important,
> and I personally believe that it's more practical (and IMHO
> semantically interesting) to model this content at the elemental level
> (basic english), and allow the subsequent markup, visual design, *and*
> URI design to reflect this ...
> A basic content model for a blog might look like:
> Posts
> Comments
> Links
> or alternatively...
> Entries
> Articles

Sounds like something to add to a blog post brainstorming page:

> I like the idea of being as specific as possible with this content
> model, and then allowing the blog markup to directly reflect that...
> eg:
> <div class="article"></div>
> would represent something subtly different than
> <div class="post"></div>
> even if on the surface, the actual publishing flow was the same basic
> blogging process.

More good thoughts to put on such a wiki page.

> I guess what I'm getting at is that I greatly value the richness and
> flexibility of (X)HTML and its resulting design potential, and it
> would be a shame to sacrifice this with a more "universal" or
> "generic" approach to blog markup if that was to have an impact on the
> potential for people to publish and model their content in interesting
> and diverse ways.

Right.  We should not sacrifice design potential / flexibility.  On the
contrary, one of the points of microformats is that they're much *easier* to
style and present in a variety of ways than any generic XML attempts.

> Rather than handwringing about whether the person who wrote an entry
> should be represented as class="author" or class="creator" etc, I
> would suggest recommending to publishers that they either:
> a) draw their HTML semantics from a higher level content model (ie:
> use a unique model of fields that maps to their overall design
> framework).

Good IA is always a good thing.

> b) use fields from an already established pattern, such as RSS or Atom.

I think that's what a lot of folks are thinking.

> I think a) possibly summarises the blog format challenge.

Yes.  Precisely.

> Thus I have
> to promise to clean up all my remaining tag soup right now...


Looking forward to it Mark.



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