Disambiguation [was RE: "uid" microformats? (was Re: [uf-discuss] ISBN mark-up)]

Scott Reynen scott at randomchaos.com
Sat Apr 29 16:22:23 PDT 2006

On Apr 29, 2006, at 5:32 PM, Benjamin Carlyle wrote:

> It is not clear to me at this time that microformats need profiles.
> hcard seems to have several profiles:
> http://microformats.org/wiki/hcard-profile
> http://www.w3.org/2006/03/hcard
> hcalendar seems to have none. Has this harmed adoption or made tooling
> more difficult? I don't think so, at least not so far.

I think the likelihood of someone using a class name like "hcalendar"  
to mean anything other than the microformat is incredibly small.   
However, I have run into many people for whom such a formal  
indication is a prerequisite for using a markup format, so in my  
experience, the lack of profiles is harming adoption.

> Microformat terms act like profiles in identifying how to process the
> content, so what else would using a profile add:
> 1) The ability to skip parsing of a html document (or parts thereof)
> becase we don't see the profile elements we recognise.
> 2) To provide additional disambiguation: To tell a parser which vcard
> specification or version to use.
> 3) To identify the fact that some microformats are in use, ie use
> "http://microformats.org/" instead of a profile for a specific
> microformat.
> I think that (1) is based on a false premise. You have to at least  
> start
> parsing the html document in order to know which profiles are used.
> Chances are that profiles will be frequently missing or incorrect  
> given
> the current tooling situation. I think parsers will look for
> microformats they know about no matter what the profiles attribute  
> says.


> (2) and (3) also seem like a bad ideas. They would be technical  
> measures
> to allow the established microformat community base to splinter. While
> we all live within one namespace we are force to interact with each
> other to resolve conflict. Outside of that space confrontation is
> avoided and we end up with "mymicroformats:vcard" and
> "yourmicroformats:vcard" class names. Publishers would be forced to
> choose between the two.

I don't really understand 3.  I don't think 2 is a bad idea; I just  
don't think it's necessary.  It's not really "mymicroformats:vcard"  
and "yourmicroformats:vcard" we might see on the web.  It's "gmpg.org/ 
vcard" (or even "w3.org/vcard") and "mydomain.com/vcard".  One is  
clearly more authoritative than the other (which is so far entirely  
hypothetical), so I don't think this is a worthwhile concern.  I  
don't think ambiguity is a worthwhile concern either, but I do think  
it will be less trouble to create profiles to satisfy those who have  
this concern than to convince them that it's not worth worrying about.


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