[uf-discuss] Marking Up Personal Profiles

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Sun Oct 1 14:44:58 PDT 2006

On 10/1/06 10:27 AM, "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt at lachy.id.au> wrote:

> Chris Messina wrote:
>> I would challenge you to follow the guideline to solve a specific
>> problem...
> I thought that's what I was doing.  Rather than proposing a new format
> straight away, I presented a use case with some example data and was
> trying to look at what can and can't be done with existing formats, and
> the limitations with them.

Lachlan - certainly you've done some very good work there.

The key distinction with microformats is to make sure that *all* your
example data is based on data actually found on the Web *with* specific URLs
to where the data can be retrieved and analyzed by anyone.  We need this in
order to prune away theoretical example data from actual data in use on the
Web.  This is the only objective manner I have found to avoid the inevitable
(but well-intentioned) theoretical examples that tend to drive most other
standards efforts.

You may wish to take a look at http://microformats.org/wiki/profile-examples
and contribute to the work there.

Read http://microformats.org/wiki/examples first to get a good understanding
of how to write up an effective examples page.

>> I think that there's certainly a case for an hProfile
>> microformat (I think I probably suggested it at some point... heh)

Yes, Chris mentioned it and did some of the work on the wiki a while ago
like start the aforementioned profile-examples page.

>> but
>> there is a lot that can be covered with existing formats
> Exactly!  Hence, the discussion is involving hCard, hResume, rel-tag, etc.

I really like what you did with that Lachlan, and I think that analysis will
make it possible to focus on what really does need to be added, rather than
starting from scratch.

>> Perhaps there is a very *specific* part of the profile (or many parts)
>> that can be extracted and codified into a micropattern?
> Yes, that's what I was trying to do.  By looking at what can be done
> already that fits the use case, we can see what's missing and fill in
> the gaps, which will hopefully be quite small.


In addition, I do suggest more research.

E.g. you mentioned supposed rel-tag limitations, giving the example of

> The recurring problem with the use of rel-tag in most of these is that
> we're trying to represent name:value pairs, whereas rel-tag only really
> represents the value.
> e.g. <a href="/tags/blue" rel="tag">Brown</a>
> That doesn't indicate whether it represents hair colour, eye colour,
> favourite colour or something else entirely.

The participants of at least one "social networking" site (consumating.com)
have already solved this problem, WITHOUT name/value pairs with tags like:


So far I've yet to see much in the "profile" space that can't be covered
nearly completely with existing or in-progress microformats, mostly tags.

If there is a need to provide more detail than just tags, there are other
microformats in progress: e.g. for "books I like", that seems perfect for a
citation microformat.  Or perhaps for books, movies, music etc., a "product"
microformat which has been often discussed.

In short, stick with hCard + tags for now.  They easily solve 80% of the
problem (maybe even 90%), and for the remaining 10-20%, define *those*
specific problems and let's see what other existing microformats can be



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