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

fantasai fantasai.lists at inkedblade.net
Mon Oct 30 07:03:24 PST 2006

Stephen Paul Weber wrote:
>> 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).
> I agree.  Universal formats are very useful, and if uF is being used
> by one aspect of the program, why not by all?  I currently use XOXO to
> backup my reading list / transfer it to other feed readers.  Why
> should this not be able to apply across the board to all microformats?
> It may not be part of 80% or initial-draft use cases, but if it
> starts happening, I'll be all for it.

Microformats are great for combining data and presentation. They're
an interchange format that is optimized for that.

But the back-end store of chat logs isn't about presentation, it's
about data. And microformats are not optimized for data alone.

Different chat clients display logs differently. The same chat client
can have many different options for displaying logs: for example, whether
to show timestamps, what time zone they should be in, whether they're
attached to every message sent/received or just stamped every five minutes
as a separate line, how to format the date, how to format the time, etc.
The log storage format should be one that is optimized as a data source
that can be easily transformed into any presentation. It shouldn't be
optimized for only one presentation, as it would be if it mixed data and

Logfiles are better as XML than as relational tables because they're
ordered structured data, because one doesn't do sophisticated lookups on
them, because they should be easy to parse and easy to index with other

They're better as a standardized XML format like ULF than as hChat because
ULF is more compact; is easier to write, parse, and transform; can easily
include invisible metadata that affects presentation (like sender status);
and doesn't include extraneous presentational information.

If the concern is being able to open up logs and look at them, I suggest
having the logs link to a helpful CSS file for direct presentation and
an XSLT sheet for transformation to hChat.


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