semantic XHTML and microformats (was Re: [uf-discuss] Automatic conversion of XML to microformat and vice versa; recommendation for handling XML attributes?)

Tantek Ç elik tantek at
Sun Oct 1 13:24:16 PDT 2006

These are all good recommendations.

There are a couple of higher level things from Roger's original email that I
wanted to clear up though.

Note that the XOXO conversion that Brian and David are talking about will
convert *any* XML into XOXO which is *a* microformat, rather than just *an*
XML *document* to *a* microformat.

That being said, you can always just use semantic (X)HTML.

Note that microformats use semantic XHTML, but not all use of semantic XHTML
are microformats.

Web designers and authors are using semantic XHTML everyday without using
microformats, and that's perfectly fine.  They are not trying to create
standards and interoperably/automatically exchange data with each other.
They are simply expressing the semantics of their documents.

Whereas microformats follow a specific process and are intended to provide a
way for publishers worldwide to easily interoperably exchange simple bits of

This distinction between "semantic XHTML" and "microformats" is very
important to understand and is often confused - I've even seen W3C staff
themselves call microformats "just using good class names", which is
incorrect.  (Using good class names is simply one of the practices of
semantic XHTML).



On 8/27/06 8:50 AM, "David Janes" <davidjanes at> wrote:

> And in particular, have a look at XOXO Rest Datatypes [1]. There's
> probably more work that could be done here to model typed values (i.e.
> "12000 meters") amongst other things; maybe you're the right person
> ;-)
> Regards, etc...
> David
> [1]
> On 8/27/06, Brian Suda <brian.suda at> wrote:
>> On 8/27/06, Costello, Roger L. <costello at> wrote:
>>> Microformat newbie here, so please bear with me if my questions are
>>> misguided.
>> --- welcome Roger.
>>> Question #1
>>> Do you agree with using <dl> for XML leaf nodes?  If not, do you
>>> recommend something else?
>> while this might work in your case, trouble appears when you have
>> attibutes on those Element... how would you encode those?
>> The XOXO microformat ( allows for
>> this sort of encoding. You could tweak it slighty so you get class
>> attribute values which you could then style. XOXO uses OL lists, with
>> DL lists for attributes and should solve your problems, i would
>> suggest reading-up on that and if there are still problems let us
>> know.
>> There are also several implementations of how to internalize a XOXO
>> list into a PHP, Python,Ruby,etc. array. Sort of an HTML JSON.
>> -brian
>> --
>> brian suda
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