[uf-discuss] [chat] Microformats are not for data storage

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Sun Oct 29 22:39:45 PST 2006

Whohoo! A point of real debate!

Well, as I did when we first spoke months ago, I firmly disagree, and
over time, I think you will be proven wrong. There's simply no point
in having multiple instantiations of the same data in a text-based
format (I'm exempting relational databases).

In any case -- I know where you're coming from and I appreciate you
making a public statement about your position. This will allow us to
finally have this conversation out in daylight.

Your point has been that straight XML is easier to parse than XHTML --
which could include linked CSS for use in presentation, or JS to
add/modify behavior.

Furthermore, as new chat programs emerge, the ability to move data
between them in a format that works in *any browser* seems like an
investment in the future, as opposed to the present and recent past.

Lastly, the unknown uses and mashability of XHTML is one of the most
important elements of using XHTML as opposed to custom XML.

These are a few of the basic assumptions that I work under. I would be
very happy if you would discount them, one at a time. ;)


On 10/29/06, Colin Barrett <timber at lava.net> wrote:
> Particularly, I'm going to be talking about "hChat".
> Personally, I see the primary use case of a chat microformat to be for
> displaying of chat contents in a live (or semi-live) way. There are
> quite a few examples of this in the wild -- web-based IM clients like
> Meebo, and Adium and Kopete's message view, both of which are HTML
> based.
> Contrarily, most data formats are not HTML based (XML based, usually),
> or if they are, do not use modern HTML (i.e. AOL's HTML log format).
> I think the chat group should alter its focus to providing ways to
> semantically talk about the structure of a chat and a particular
> message entry. One of the most obvious benefits in this area is much
> better clipboard support -- copying things out of Meebo and Adium/
> Kopete's HTML view usually results in an un-useful mess.
> Another important use case, that I think there has been some research
> towards already, is "snippets". That is, small snippets of an IM
> conversation in a blog post. This, conveniently, goes along with my
> earlier point about copy-paste.
> Just a couple of other points that have been percolating:
>   - the use of hCard to mark up people's names
>   - Time zone information is important -- particularly wrt. time time
> zone of the sender and the time zone of the receiver.
> This email has been a long time coming -- I've waited for a couple of
> months, just lurking and trying to understand the process. Should
> people agree that this is the direction research should go, I'll start
> working on getting links on the wiki to examples of documentations of
> chat representations. I think that the idea of chat *logging* is a
> well-solved problem by XML and microformats shouldn't be butting their
> heads in -- especially since most of the time full logs aren't
> available on the web (the uF log bot being a notable, and interesting,
> exception).
> In the interest of full disclosure: I'm one of the developers of Adium
> -- we're looking into improving our message view, and copy/paste has
> been something that's plagued us for a while. I'm also one of the
> primary authors of an XML based log format that's been adopted by
> Adium, Gaim and Kopete.
> --
> Colin Barrett
> Developer, Adium
> http://adiumx.com
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> microformats-discuss mailing list
> microformats-discuss at microformats.org
> http://microformats.org/mailman/listinfo/microformats-discuss

Chris Messina
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