[uf-discuss] Microformats vs XML

Karl Dubost karl at w3.org
Wed Apr 26 23:59:49 PDT 2006

Le 06-04-27 à 15:08, Phil Haack a écrit :
> My article discusses the principles and benefits of Microformats,  
> but I
> haven't had a really strong discussion of why not use XML or RDF as  
> well as
> the weaknesses of Microformats.

There are benefits and weaknesses and sometimes with the same  
argument. Though it's not necessary specific to microformats, but  
more about nature of information and authoring.

For example,

* ease of authoring *

   <abbr class="dtstart"
         title="19970903T163000Z">September 3, 1997, 16:30</abbr>
                  attribute          content

Here there is a redundancy of information, one which is easily  
accessible, the content part of the element, and one which is not  
easily accessible the "title" attribute part.
A simple user will easily change the content part but will most of  
the time forget the title attribute, which makes the processing  
wrong. Human editing factor unfortunately. I had already the problem  
for some pages.

And I repeat, it's not specific to microformats.

The only solution to cope with that is to have an authoring tool  
which "knows" about the synchronization, but then it means that the  
authoring tool can produce other formats as well (ics, rdf, txt, etc.)

* management issue and legacy data *

It's very easy to create information in a specific page. That's cool.  
It means that anyone can enrich one page with explicit data more than  
implicit data. But it's also easy to forget to update data and create  
then legacy content.

* The specific weaknesses of microformats are seen as benefits by  
others depending on how you look at them. Nobody is wrong or right,  
it's more a question of context and what you want to achieve. Crawl  
the archive of the list and you will find many discussions (or  
ratholes depending on how you want to see them)
I have only one strong concern with my W3C hat is that the semantics  
of title attributes has been abused (here you will have different  
opinions too on that topic).

For your article, maybe more on comparing things, you could say what  
are the different ways to achieve certain things with microformats,  
XML, RDF and then talk about the things you can do or not do with  
each parts. More than the bad or good dichotomy which increases  
bitterness and doesn't achieve much.

Karl Dubost - http://www.w3.org/People/karl/
W3C Conformance Manager, QA Activity Lead
   QA Weblog - http://www.w3.org/QA/
      *** Be Strict To Be Cool ***

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