[microformats-discuss] URIs please!

Bud Gibson bud at thecommunityengine.com
Thu Jul 14 08:14:44 PDT 2005

On Jul 14, 2005, at 9:33, Peter Janes wrote:

> I've had a bit of previous offline discussion with Tantek, and it's  
> been my impression that he's in favour of requiring linked profiles  
> (since that was exactly what we discussed).  I think the rejection  
> of "Just because a profile value mentioned in a microformat's  
> linked XMDP also appears in the document does not mean that that  
> microformat is in use." is more one of wording/interpretation,  
> since it could be taken to mean:
> - "just because I've listed the XFN profile doesn't mean that I use  
> any of the values defined in it"
> - "just because I've listed the XFN profile doesn't mean that  
> rel='met' means what it says in XFN" or
> I think the purpose of the statement was to express the former  
> argument, and the objection is to interpreting it as the latter.

I agree that we probably need to clear up interpretations which is  
why I am continuing to press this issue.  Having reread the spec a  
couple of times, here is my best interpretation of what linking to an  
XMDP means:

1.  The presence of an XMDP profile only means that a particular  
microformat may be present in the document (Danny Ayers' point).

2.  The presence of an XMDP cannot practically be assumed to mean  
that any occurrence of an attribute value defined in the XMDP is to  
be interpreted according to the XMDP's definition.  There are two  
simple cases that suggest this point:
a.  Two XMDPs are referenced, each one referring to the attribute  
value.  Which takes precedence?  I can come up with some rules of  
thumb, some of which I have heard at conferences, but where are those  
explicitly stated?  My point here simply is that there is a lot of  
unwritten lore that will leave newcomers guessing.
b.  The fact that XMDPs appear at least implicitly to be oriented  
toward defining a specific context that may occur in part of a  
document.  While in discussions concerning the development of xFolk,  
I initially attempted to create unique attribute value names and was  
told that this was "unnecessary syntactic vinegar", the attribute  
value names would be interpreted in context.

3.  The XMDP does not give explicit syntactic significance to the  
attribute value that indicates when it is to be interpreted as  
applying.  Therefore, without reading the XMDP, knowing when it is  
actually in effect is impossible.  This is not just "humans first",  
it is "humans only".

Given all these points, XMDPs need refinement before they can be used  
for automated microformat discovery.  At this stage, the only  
available discovery method is to hand-code the attributes that  
indicate particular microformat contexts into your parser and assume  
some rules of thumb.  This method is still viable at the current scale.

Boy, it seems to make autodiscovery harder than it needs to be,  
particularly as microfomats proliferate.  The simplest solution would  
seem to be to syntactically mark the microformat's enclosing element  
in the XMDP so that it can be extracted during the parsing process.


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