[uf-discuss] Microformats vs XML

Steven Livingstone connect at stevenR2.com
Thu Apr 27 01:07:01 PDT 2006

Phil - I had some thoughts.

In the past i have been involved in a number of efforts on Xml and the one thing that always seemed to happen was that a 2500 page spec emerged.

Less formal creations such as RSS never suffered from that as much (in constrast to say NewsML which had a much more specific goal - the XSD is around 30 pages long). Look at the contrast of something like XML-RPC versus SOAP/WSDL and so on. The former does a nice job for online services without too much effort - the latter can require a LOT of work (although tool support is getting better) and is better suited in formal environments.

Don't get me wrong, there is sometimes a need for detailed specs and so on, but there is also a need for simple, effective formats, which Microformats do very well.

Another thing, if you are constrasting with Xml, is that Microformats already have job in mind when the format is created. With Xml it it very flexible and no-one has adopted a single way of doing some of the things the Microformats community seem to have. Some time back i wanted to create "xfrag.org" which was to have the intention of small schema fragments (name, addres etc) that could be re-used in Xml compliant documents. But then we had a baby :)

Also, RDF, OWL and so on can be very abstract and tricky to understand, whereas Microformats have a very specific task in mind, making it easy for the user (and consumer) to know what the intention is.

Steven Livingstone



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