[microformats-discuss] Re: Educationg Others

Ryan King ryan at technorati.com
Mon Oct 3 20:12:18 PDT 2005

On Oct 3, 2005, at 6:42 PM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:

> Hi Scott,
>> Do you see XHTML documents enhanced with microformats serving as a
>> general purpose xml content / data interchange format? Or is the
>> format intended to be primarily used in the context of a presenting
>> content to a human consumer along with sematic annotations?
> I think your specific "general purpose" may be quite different than  
> our specific "general purpose". :-)

Exactly. Microformats are developed for specific purpose*s*, not  
usually for a *general purpose.* This is to avoid the "boiling the  
ocean" problem.

They, along with every other format should be evaluated on a case-by- 
case basis.

> Pretty much everything I do -- including applications I write or  
> worry about -- are intended for use by consumers I do not have a  
> direct trust relationship with -- and for whom human-readability is  
> always a *useful* aspect (even if not vital).  They prefer to be  
> able to reuse their existing tools to consume that data without  
> knowing the schema in advance, even if that implies some loss of  
> rigor.
> For that reason, I see XHTML+microformats as 'generally useful',  
> including for applications that others where others might be  
> tempted to use XML.
>> I was referring to XHTML application domains as either a general
>> purpose content container or as a presentation format. It seems to me
>> that these two functional requirements are in conflict with each
>> other.
> If I'm going to publish  in that format anyway, I might as well use  
> that as my data storage medium, since it is essentially self- 
> documenting data where *I* can extract the useful content *I*  
> need.  It works for me.  But my world may be different than yours.
> As Tantek quoted Rohit as saying, we know microformats work for us  
> in practice; we do NOT know if they work in theory. Which is  
> another way of saying we can't give you a robust theoretical  
> justification for why _you_ should use microfomats even if you  
> don't want to.  At this stage, it's more like "you either get them  
> or you don't."
> Which is okay.  If they don't make sense to you now, why not wait a  
> few months and check back then? We may have more answers.  Or at  
> least have learned better how to express them.

Well said, Ernie.


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