[microformats-discuss] hOffer

Emiliano Martinez Luque martinezluque at gmail.com
Sat Aug 27 21:39:40 PDT 2005

Hi all,
I´m new to the list please excuse my english (It´s not my first
language and my english grammar and spelling tend to die when I´m
tired and it´s a little late here).
I welcome this proposal, it´s one of the reasons I joined the list.
I agree that commerce is becoming decentralized and we are also seing
small independent stores using blogging tools and tinkering CMS
systems to offer their wares on the net (for example:
http://www.questionablecontent.net/merch.php ). As payment systems
evolve and internet access spreads worldwide we could expect this
trend to continue since it is a cost effective way for small stores to
participate in the global marketplace. The benefits of having a
microformat for representing commercial offers are clear for matching
sellers to buyers as well as for all other of behaviours we have come
to expect from the web (recommendations, commercial products reviews,
wishlists, etc.).

I would first like to suggest that an optional photo should be
included in the proposal. And would also like to point out that some
currency specification should be included too, since '$89' could
represent 89 US Dollars, 89 Canadian Dollars, 89 Argentinian Pesos,
etc. If we want the data to be machine processable this ambiguity
should be resolved.
Keeping with microformats philosophy of 'Designed for humans first and
machines second' I can see problems with the data being separated into
2 different fields.
<span class="price">1.000,00</span>
<span class="currency">EUR</span>

Since it would be displayed as 1.000,00 EUR when intuitively it should
be €1.000,00 .

There is also the problems of:
a) French (1.000,00) vs Anglo (1,000.00) representation of thousands and cents.
b) The currency sign might be at the beggining for some currencies
(ie: $17) and at the end for others (for example Korean Wons. See:
http://www.woori.com/planmall/elegan/Index.jsp )

My first idea is that a simple parsable method could be to include the
currency on the class value itself. ie:

<span class="price:EUR">€1.000,00</span>
<span class="price:USD">$1,000.00</span>
<span class="price:CAD">$1,000.00</span>
<span class="price:ARS">$1.000,00</span>

The problem of the actual format of the currency representation could
be solved then by parsing the text node according to the specified

Another option would be to have the value in the title attribute of an
abbr tag, ie:

<abbr class="price" title="EUR 1.000,00">€1.000,00</abbr>
<abbr class="price" title="USD 1,000.00">$1,000.00</abbr>
<abbr class="price" title="CAD 1,000.00">€1,000.00</abbr>
<abbr class="price" title="ARS 1.000,00">€1.000,00</abbr>

You might have noticed that I kept up with the different formats, I
believe this to be most intuitive, since again, you can parse the
price part of the title attribute´s value according to the currency

This of course can by changed by deciding on a standard (Either French
or Anglo). But I can imagine a lengthy discussion on the merits and
benefits of each one... :-)

Well, those are my 2 bits, have a nice weekend.
Emiliano Martínez Luque

On 8/27/05, Tantek Çelik <tantek at cs.stanford.edu> wrote:
> On 8/27/05 9:47 AM, "trevor at junkstream.com" <trevor at junkstream.com> wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I wanted to see if any work has been done on a microformat for
> > describing offers (e.g. For Sale, Wanted). New to the list, but haven't
> > come across anything in this area.
> >
> > Here's the basic problem: offer metadata (e.g. Title, Description,
> > Price, Contact Info) is typically stored in non-semantic markup and
> > moved around in proprietary feed formats. Commerce is becoming more
> > decentralized, so an open standard for simple distributed offers would
> > be increasingly valuable.
> Makes sense.
> > Much of the work done on hCard and hReview could probably be reused,
> > with a minimal number of new elements. If there's sufficient interest,
> > I can put together an examples page to get things started.
> >
> > Thoughts?
> I think Rohit probably has some thoughts on this, given his background.
> I think this is worthy of starting an examples page.  There's tons of
> examples on craigslist and ebay.  With such an "hOffer" microformat, you
> could theoretically build a distributed version of those sites, where people
> simply publish what they have for sale or what they want, and some spidering
> engine matches them up, lets you query them etc.
> I wonder how examples for "for sale" vs. "wanted" offers will differ in
> terms of their implicit schema.  I'd expect to see a lot of overlap.
> Thanks,
> Tantek
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