[uf-discuss] Process to handle decentralized creation of new
Costello, Roger L.
costello at mitre.org
Sun Oct 1 07:44:50 PDT 2006
This community is awesome! Microformats are awesome!
At the present time the creation of new microformats is centralized, to
this list. And this community has an excellent process established for
What happens when creating microformats becomes decentralized; that is,
when communities go off and create their own new microformats?
For example, one community might create a microformat for aquarium
tanks. The "tank" microformat might be used in something like this:
A separate, independent community might create a microformat for
artillery tanks. Their "tank" microformat might be used in something
Alas, we have two tank microformats with totally different semantics.
In general, as microformat creation becomes decentralized there will be
a proliferation of microformats with identical names but differing
semantics. Clearly this will be big trouble for microformat aggregator
This "microformat name collision" problem might lead to the suggestion
to use namespaces for microformats.
Thus, the aquarium community associates their microformat with this
Now their microformat is used as such:
And the artillery community uses their microformat like this:
But using namespaces in microformats will trigger problems in other
technologies, such as CSS.
For example, suppose that there is a site-wide CSS document, which
contains styling for the aquarium tank class, e.g.,
Suppose there are multiple developers at the site. One developer
creates a page and uses the "aquarium" namespace prefix:
Recall that with namespaces the prefix used is irrelevant. So, another
developer also uses the aquarium tank microformat, but uses a different
Now the CSS document won't operate on the second developer's page.
There are lots of problems lurking with decentralized creation of
On the other hand, centralized control of the creation of microformats
doesn't seem practical on a massively decentralized Web. As
microformats become increasingly popular people will go off and create
their own microformats (it's already happening).
Centralized control of the creation of microformats is akin to the XML
community mandating that all XML tags be created by a central
There are lots of really smart people on this list. There must be a
solution. Can you think of a process for allowing a decentralized
creation of microformats, without the ensuing chaos alluded to above?
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