Non-visible microformats was [uf-discuss] Principles of Microformats?

Chris Messina chris.messina at
Sat Dec 16 14:52:54 PST 2006

A key example, which is also an example of Angus' new wiki/initiative
idea, is the more-or-less abandoned work done on Structured Blogging.
The effort decided to attempt embedding commented out RDF into HTML --
a practice, it was recognized, was doomed to fail because of the
copy-paste reusability of visible data marked up in standard HTML.

Put another way, if you rely on invisible meta data as your mechanism
for semanticizing the visible data, because of the facility of HTML,
as some point, that meta data will become divorced from the original
data it was intended to describe.

Web designers and developers covet clean code; repeating and
maintaining two or more chunks of the same data simply makes no sense,
especially when dealing with competition of the forms (ie which is
more authoritative when determining which is a copy of the original --
if the meta data copy and the visible copies don't match, which do you

Finally, invisible semantics again have an increased likelihood to
spiral out of control, since, like XML, you're free to essentially
"make shit up" as is your won't. If you're limited to working within
existing constraints, you're likely to have simpler formats that are
easier and more likely to be used by web authors and furthermore do
not take another college course to learn.


On 12/16/06, Andy Mabbett <andy at> wrote:
> In message <8ad71be30612161220id9f32e4n2b07da19001f67f3 at>,
> Benjamin West <bewest at> writes
> >I'd just like to point out that the
> >main reason for avoiding invisible meta data is because visible data
> >is updated more often than invisible data.
> I've yet to see any evidence to support that oft-made assertion.
> --
> Andy Mabbett
>             *  Say "NO!" to compulsory ID Cards:  <>
>             *  Free Our Data:  <>
>             *  Are you using Microformats, yet: <> ?
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Chris Messina
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