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

Colin Barrett timber at lava.net
Mon Oct 30 06:30:27 PST 2006

On Oct 30, 2006, at 3:48 AM, Christopher St John wrote:

> On 10/30/06, Colin Barrett <timber at lava.net> wrote:
>> 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.
> The microformats approach requires existing "in the wild" examples to
> function. If there aren't any yet, then it's more of a research  
> project than
> a standardization effort. So...

One of my main criticisms of Chris's argument ;) Anyway...

> - Are there examples of what you're talking about already out there?  
> The
> live-chat-using-ajax examples appeared to use something that looks
> a lot like sections of a chat log, but I've only looked in detail at  
> a couple.

There definitely are. Adium and Kopete share a similar message style  
implementation. Executive sumamry: there are about seven or so snippet  
files with magic names that have various replacement strings you can  
use (%contactname% for example). I can put a link to information about  
it up on the wiki. It's not extremely well documented, but there is  
some. If our web-based SVN interface were up, I could show you a link  
to some messages styles. Meebo and other such AJAX chats are also  
excellent examples of this sort of thing. In either case, links should  
definitely be appearing on the wiki.

> - What are specific examples where the existing chat logs formats
> are insufficient for what you want? (you mention hCard for  
> participants and
> better time zone representation, but couldn't that be done within the
> framework of the existing chat log formats?)

That's the thing -- existing chat *log* formats are working fine.  
Existing chat *display* formats (the one in Adium, for example), are  
the things that are failing. One of the main problems with Adium's is  
that we're not exactly dealing with a browser. The markup is created  
by users and is in a format we don't have a lot of guarantees about.  
The approach we're thinking about following in the future is a  
contract system: i.e. if you give us X in terms of markup (class  
names, etc), we'll give you Y in terms of features. There are a couple  
thousand message styles out there, and many of them are in heavy use  
with little maintenance, so we can't really just break them all. This  
is turning into more of something you'd find on Adium's development  
list, which means I'm digressing ;)

> Personally, I'd like to see the specific examples first, with a  
> focus change
> to follow. The current set of pages seems inclusive enough for both,  
> and
> things can always be split up.

Sure. sections for chat log and chat display sound good to people?  
Feel free to chime in here.

> I hope that didn't come off sounding negative, live chat  
> presentation is the
> thing I've been most interested in from the chat microformat effort,  
> and
> it's great to see one of the Adium developers participating.

Thanks! I was skeptical of uFs in general at first, but I figure if  
there was an effort to make a chat uF I might as well make my voice  
heard -- otherwise I'd have no way to complain when it arrived and I  
wasn't happy about it ;)


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