[microformats-discuss] Profiles, what are they good for, why do we need them, and how should they be implemented

brian suda brian.suda at gmail.com
Fri Jul 15 08:08:42 PDT 2005

Carl Beeth wrote:

>>I've I want to use hCal and hLicense on a page I would
>>simply write e.g: <head profile="http://example.org/Microformats/2005">
>>or something similar, instead of writing e.g:
>><head profile="http://example.org/Microformats/hCal-2005
>> http://example.org/Microformats/hLicense-2005">?
This is a very bad idea. Right now microformats are a bottom-up design,
NOT a top-down. There is no way to make a single profile for every
single possible XMDP that might emerge. Secondly, there is no name
spacing, so if i use XFN and a new microformat called FOO are used
together, there can and WILL be collistions with rel="XXXX" in the future.

If FOO XMDP defines three possible values

Then in my HTML i use the single XMDP profile which somehow knows about
FOO and XFN. What does the following markup mean?
<a href="/1/index.html" rel="you">FOO profile</a>
<a href="/2/index.html" rel="me">FOO or XFN profile</a>

You could then imagine a thrid XMDP profile in this master XMDP profile
called BAR. BAR profile defines these values.

Now, somewhere on your site you have the following code:
<div class="messagebox errorbox">Not intened to be a microformat, just
two css styles</div>

You want errorbox to be a style NOT a microformat, but since you
declared the master profile your adding semantics to things you never
intended. This would require everyone to know EVERY single value in the
master list, thus creating a bunch of 'CSS reserved words'.

Lumping all the XMDPs into a single place would begin to make it a
top-down centalised syetem, but microformats are small, distributed,
specialized peices of information. I would prefer to see ever
microformat have their own URI then i could pick and choose which i
wanted to include.

There has also been brief discussions about creating a sort of ontology
or way to point to other XMDPs and pull-out only what is needed. A new
XHTML format that could cross-reference properties. So you could define
a new XMDP which is a mixture of a sub-set of two other formats, or say
that the URL in this XMDP is equivalent to the URL in this other XMDP.
RDF has OWL to do this. That way if you wanted you could create your own
uber XMDP and keep it locally on your site, and that XMDP references
other (or parts of) XMDP files scattered across the web.

This is why a generic universal validator would be handy, but XMDP is
meant for human-readbility first, and machine-readablity second. So
somethings people are trying to make microformats do are just out of the
scope of possiblities, lets not forget this.


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