[uf-discuss] generic microformat parsing heuristics?

Danny Ayers danny.ayers at gmail.com
Tue Nov 8 03:50:38 PST 2005

On 11/8/05, Mark Pilgrim <pilgrim at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 11/7/05, David House <dmhouse at gmail.com> wrote:
> > One of the main advantages of a generalised microformat parser is that
> > it allows us to write less code when the next compound microformat
> > comes out. First off we only had hCard and hCal. Now with things like
> > hReview and hAtom coming in, don't you think it would be useful to
> > have a decent base which we could just extend when the next
> > microformat comes out?
> Yes, but that's not an answer to the original question.  The original
> question was whether one could write a *generic* parser that could
> parse new microformats *without prior knowledge of their precise
> schemas*.  Your "decent base" parser wouldn't do that.

I think it's fairly likely that a generic parser will be possible,
assuming the formats are defined cleanly and consistently and the
structures don't get much more complex. I agree that it probably isn't
such a good idea at this point in time, certainly not until a few more
specs have XMDP profiles.

> The danger lies in seeing opportunities for code re-use (which is
> good), then making the mental leap to "generic code that could parse
> new formats without prior knowledge."  It sounds like a seductively
> small leap to make, but it's not really.  It's a black hole from which
> no community has ever escaped.

It turns out to be a very productive black hole for the RDF community ;-)




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