[microformats-discuss] Picoformats

Ryan King ryan at technorati.com
Wed Aug 24 11:55:10 PDT 2005

On Aug 24, 2005, at 6:19 AM, Dimitri Glazkov wrote:

> Ok, I admit, I am inventing catchy new words here.

And you're not the first one.

> However, this seems to capture the experience that I've been going
> through recently. I find that the microformats concept fits quite
> nicely at an application level, as opposed to some "the whole
> internet".
> It is no surprise to anyone that rarely a modern Web application could
> escape dealing with DOM scripting in one way or another. As you I am
> sure already know, the biggest issue that the semantic people have
> with scripting is that needs to be bound correctly, without having
> behavior injected in content with the onclicks, onsubmits, and worse
> yet, document.writes and "javascript:"s.
> Well, the microformats offer a simple and generalized way to identify
> additional semantics in content, and I have been capitalizing on this
> quite a bit with my JS bindings.
> The approach is simple: define additional semantics with classNames
> and element names (when necessary), then have the script look for them
> at the time of loading and bind code if found. This has been done
> before and there is nothing new about this.
> These additional semantics should follow the spirit of the
> microformats, but not have the burden of "standardization", because
> they are application or vendor-specific. They are picoformats.
> After a while, these additional semantics may start forming patterns
> that span applications, vendors, at which point it becomes obvious
> that a microformat is emerging. At this point, the consequences of
> interpretation and changes start getting a lot more substantial, and a
> centralized management of the specs becomes necessary.

Congratulations! You've just described the status quo!

You see- this is precisely what we're trying to do with microformats-  
"pave the cowpaths."

Also, I think you've got things a bit backwards- the scenario you  
propose (and which is already occuring) is the inspiration for  
microformats. Web developers are already trying to apply semantic  
xhtml and css to their development. And, as these things become  
standard across many applications, there is then market pressure will  
lead to standardization.

> I believe it is crucial to the popularization of microformats to
> cultivate picoformats in an organized way, so that there is a common
> body of peers to discuss, review and exchange picoformats, and also
> spot the progression and adoption of them into microformats.

I think what you're asking for is a place to discuss semantic (x) 
html. The "common body of peers" already exists and are already  
discussing these issues on many mailing lists and many blogs.

> The main difference with the current thinking: I think the wide
> adoption of microformats is inevitable and looming. I believe you guys
> will get inundated very quickly with microformat proposals that span,
> overlap, solve application-specific problems, rather than common
> specific problems, or address "pie in the sky" academic dillemmas.

"Will"? :D

> The
> picoformats farm is the microformats purgatory, where the test of
> adoption is applied and natural selection is used as engine that
> powers a paricular picoformat toward becoming micro. See, I used both
> darwinist and creationist themes in one sentence, how cool is that? :)

There's no need to apply a new term "picoformats" to a preexisting  
practice/community. (Unless you want to make buzzword-bingo more fun.)

> As an interesting sideline: naturally, the next step in this
> progression is incorporating the microformat into the actual markup
> language,

Once again, already happening. I believe the HTML 5 spec is  
referencing hCalendar normatively.

> should the microformat be deemed that general. That would
> probably happen very rarely, but looking at the new elements in XHTML
> 2.0 spec, I wouldn't be surprised.

Honestly, the HTML 5 spec is more likely to reference microformats  
than the XHTML 2.0 spec.

> Thoughts, comments?

Dimitri- you have some very good thoughts here, but it seems you  
might need to do a bit of research. The things you propose are  
already occurring, its just a matter of finding out where the people  
involved are discussing things.

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list