[uf-discuss] Re: the term microformat and encouraging people to play

Håkon Wium Lie howcome at opera.com
Wed Dec 13 13:51:23 PST 2006

Also sprach Tantek Çelik:

 > >> lowercase microformats = unofficial semantic markup embedded in HTML
 > >> uppercase microformats = "Official" Microformat
 > > 
 > > This makes sense to me. Preventing people from using the term
 > > "microformat" for their own set of class names is an uphill battle;
 > It is perhaps, but it is quite similar to the battle that W3C has fought
 > with use of the term "HTML", which, as we both know, was subverted by
 > various vendors etc. during the Browser Wars of the 1990s to mean *their*
 > variant of HTML.
 > Through the hard work of W3C, and advocate organizations like the Web
 > Standards Project (WaSP), that subversion was largely successfully fought
 > and overcome, and popular notion accepts that HTML is what W3C has defines
 > it to be (HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0).

Perhaps. HTML as used on the web is very different from HTML as
described by W3C, so the victory isn't overwhelming.

Another term with a W3C history is "standard". For a long time, the
word "standard" could not be used to describe W3C specification. The
word "standard", according to some, could only be used to describe
specs that had gone through the ISO process. This led to many
misunderstandings ("HTML is just a recommendation, not a standard").
The artificial restriction now has been removed, and W3C uses the term
"standard" about its own work. (Was ISO consulted in this matter? I
don't know.)

This shows how hard it is to claim ownership of lowercase words. You
risk spending time and goodwill claiming ownership of a meme.
"Microformats" is meme-bound, I believe, as Mark Murphy first

Distinguising between lowecase and uppercase microformats may not be a
good solution in the long run. As an alternative, how about
establishing an acronym of some sort? CCM: Community-Certified
Microformat VMF: Verified MicroFormat? Three-letter acronyms are
easier to defend. It's similar to talking about "ISO standards" as
opposed to just "standards". This would let everyone play, while still
honoring the worthy.

 > Thanks for chiming in Håkon - your opinion is always appreciated.

Feel free to disregard them, though :) You termed the term and started
the community. Microformats, no matter the term is defined, is the
best thing that has happened to markup languages in a very long time.


              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
howcome at opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcomeo

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