[uf-discuss] More responses to slashdot comments

John Allsopp john at westciv.com
Wed Jul 12 17:49:30 PDT 2006

Tantek (and others)

As I have too much time on my hands :-) Another draft response to  
some /. comments

[SDC=Slashdot comment, MFR=Micrformats response]

SDC: Mixing presentation and data - good... bad... good. But it gets  
better a little, each time (maybe more of a spiral than a wheel).
SDC: Ok, so this "microformats" thing is about encoding extra data  
inside an HTML file by abusing CSS class names for markup, isn't that  
completly unnecessary and nothing more than an ugly hack?

MFR: Several slashdot comments carry in essence the same criticism as  
these - that microfomats, abuse the class attribute, and by doing so  
mix presentation with document structure. This demonstrates a  
misunderstanding of the class attribute of HTML. The class attribute  
is very commonly used by web designers in conjunction with CSS to  
style pages (which is one of the roles outlined for it in the HTML  
specification [1]), and in truth, it is often overused in this way.  
But despite that, class, according to the HTML specification "has  
several roles in HTML", including "for general purpose processing by  
user agents" [1].
Microformats make use of this second aspect of the class (and id)  
attribute, and do so legitimately. It is not an abuse of the class or  
id attribute to use it to add semantic context to a document. Nor is  
the use of class in and of itself presentational - in fact, it is an  
important mechanism for separating presentation from structured content.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/global.html#h-7.5.2


John Allsopp

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