[microformats-discuss] Are microformats "data-first"?

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Fri Jul 29 10:52:39 PDT 2005

On 7/29/05 10:19 AM, "Dr. Ernie Prabhakar" <drernie at opendarwin.org> wrote:

> Hi all,

Hi Ernie,

(minor [admin] note: please only send plain text email to microformats
lists, thanks!)

> 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"
> http://www.betaversion.org/~stefano/linotype/news/93/


In many ways it is actually *far* worse than that post conveys.  The
"typical" programmer literally loves spending far more time worrying about
and designing the structure for structure's sake, than data, and even less
so, "real world" data (current behaviors etc.).

Hence we have taken the directly opposite tack with microformats when
looking to solve a problem.

Zeroeth, define the real-world problem.  If you can't do this, then stop.

First, look at real-world usage (data).

Second, what previous standards are people actually using today?  If there
is more than one, then lean towards those with the better adoption.

And only after those first two do we bother to pay attention to theoretical
standards, those that have been invented (whether by individuals,
committees), but haven't seen much if any actual adoption.

> 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?

Yes, that is a very fair and perceptive statement.

Here is another recent post that draws a similar analogy:

  Web Services and the Innovators Dilemma by Justin Leavesley




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