[uf-discuss] Currency microformat, or numbers with units

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Tue Jul 18 08:47:08 PDT 2006

On 7/18/06 8:10 AM, "Scott Reynen" <scott at randomchaos.com> wrote:

> On Jul 18, 2006, at 9:54 AM, Ciaran McNulty wrote:
>> It'd be pretty neat to have a browser widget that converted all the
>> USD prices on an American site into their equivalent GBP on mouseover,
>> or something along those lines.
> It already is pretty neat:
> http://viewmycurrency.wordpress.com/about/
> In addition to that FireFox extension, here are two Greasemonkey
> scripts that manage to do currency conversion with no microformats:
> http://nybblelabs.org.uk/projects/exchequer
> http://6v8.gamboni.org/Greasemonkey-Yahoo-Finance.html
> Which prompts the question: what exactly is the problem we're trying
> to solve here?

Excellent question Scott.

Certainly if the (presumed) problem has already been solved, especially with
something as open as a Greasemonkey script, it's not clear that there is a
strong enough need to justify a microformat.

Many years ago when I was working on XHTML 2.0 (yes, I am actually one of
the contributors to that spec, despite my opinions of it), one of the new
proposals I put forth was an element to indicate a numerical value with a
unit.  I think you can see where I am going with this.

Currency is a reasonable easy problem to solve as indicated by the scripts.

"Amounts" in arbitrary units is a bit harder and necessary for several

For example, consider the work that has been done on a recipe microformat.


Though we haven't reached this problem yet in the research, I can see it

Say you wanted to create a "shopping list" application which you could tell
which recipes you wanted to cook, and have it automatically total up all the
various amounts of ingredients and give you the net amount of stuff you
wanted to pick up.

It would need to be able to determine precise amounts/units of each
ingredient.  This might turn out to be like the currency problem, or it
might be more complex, given the variety of units used in recipes, English
vs. metric etc.  That's a case that might need a microformat.  We need more
research and analysis to really justify it, but I can see it within the
realm of probable possibility.

Food for thought.


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