[microformats-discuss] Two usage scenarios

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Mon Jul 11 08:27:11 PDT 2005

On 7/11/05 2:16 AM, "Julian Bond" <julian_bond at voidstar.com> wrote:

> In my continuing attempt to keep up with the latest greatest idea, I
> have two scenarios on Ecademy.com that would benefit from microformats.
> But it leads to questions.
> 1) We have a lot of meeting data and I'd really like to syndicate it.
> I've tried generating iCal files containing multiple events, but I've
> failed to get the format just right so it will import correctly in both
> Outlook and Sunbird.

You have hit upon one of the reasons we came up with hCalendar.  It is too
much of a burden to ask every content author/publisher to generate valid
.ics files that work in all consuming applications.  It is *much* easier to
markup existing event information on your pages with hCalendar.

(Perhaps this is worthy of adding to the hCalendar FAQ?)

> So then I started thinking about creating an RSS
> feed with embedded hCal data in the descriptions field. Is this a good
> approach? Are there others?

Yes, this works.  It immediately allows anyone with an RSS feed to get the
data, and there is the possibility that aggregator vendors might actually
parse the hCalendar and do good things with it.

Now what we don't have yet is any kind of RSS with hCalendar -> iCalendar
converter yet, but I'm sure it would be easy to alter X2V to support "R2V"
or "A2V" (for RSS and Atom embedding scenarios) as well.

Do you have a URL to pages where you have event data right now so we can
take a look?

> 2) I'd like to start putting hCard data into our member profiles.

Example URL?

> I already have FOAF and vCard available. The catch here is that the basic
> page probably doesn't validate and by the time the user has inserted
> some fairly arbitrary html into their free form notes field, it almost
> certainly doesn't validate.

I would bet there are things you can do to improve the validation of the
page, perhaps not perfectly, but at least achieve well-formedness.

> The next problem is that laying out the
> human readable version doesn't quite lend itself to making the tags
> hCard compatible.

Let the folks here give it a shot.  Provide a URL to the human readable
version and we'll see what folks come up with.

> So what I'm thinking is to link (rel alternate) to a
> separate hCard URL that contains a simple cut down version of the
> profile page containing just the hCard data where I would have complete
> control of both the html display and the hcard tags. Does this sound
> like a good idea?

That's certainly doable, but shouldn't be necessary.  Sounds like more work
that you should have to do.

> Lastly, I can't see any good tags in the vCard spec or
> elsewhere for defining a free form "long bio" (type TEXT in Mysql terms)
> data item containing limited html. Is there one?

vCard doesn't have any provision for including any other form of markup,
like HTML, so the short answer is no.

However, you *could* simply use the "note" field as defined in section 3.6.2
of RFC 2426 for defining a free form "long bio".

See Technorati's staff page for an example of this:


This works fine in general, as the extra HTML markup is simply ignored when
converted to vCard.



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