[microformats-discuss] Are microformats "data-first"?
Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
drernie at opendarwin.org
Fri Jul 29 10:19:28 PDT 2005
I'm still trying to get my head around the "zen" of microformats. In
that vein, I really appreciated this post (hat tip to Sam Ruby) about
"Data First vs. Structure First"
> Some people find the act of categorizing and abstracting natural
> and rewarding, others find it frustrating and unnecessary. The
> problem with information technologies is that computer programmers
> are likely to fall in the first category and users of such programs
> are likely to fall into the second one.
> Data First strategies have higher usability efficiency (all rest
> being equal) than Structure First strategies.
> On a local time-scale and once established, "Structure First"
> systems are more efficient.
> we all know that a complete mess is not a very good way to find
> stuff, so "data first" has to imply "structure later" to be able to
> achieve any useful capacity to manage information. Here is where
> things broke down in the past: not many believed that useful
> structures could emerge out of collected data.
> But look around now: the examples of 'data emergence' are
> multiplying and we use them every day. Google's PageRank, Amazon's
> co-shopping, Citeseer's co-citation, del.icio.us and Flickr co-
> tagging, Clusty clustering, these are all examples of systems that
> try to make structure emerge from data, instead of imposing the
> structure and pretend that people fill it up with data.
In other words, microformats seem to explicitly embody a "data-first
-- but enable emergent structure later" philosophy, which is why it
is both attractive and annoying to the traditional XML crowd.
Is that a fair statement?
-- Ernie P.
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