[uf-discuss] a very early draft proposal hTagcloud

John Allsopp john at westciv.com
Wed Sep 20 06:32:04 PDT 2006

> On 20/9/2006, "Stephen Paul Weber" <singpolyma at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Considering the fact that many tagclouds are based on actual numerics
>> (ie, 50 bookmarks on this tag), it might be nice to have access to
>> that information further than just a rating.  imho, styling is not  
>> the
>> microformat's job, the implementor can add extra classes or whatever
>> to make that work if title isn't good enough for that.
> It's true that styling is not the job of a microformat, but we must
> seriously consider how it would be styled. If there's not a practical
> way to style the tag cloud, no one will use it and we'd all be wasting
> our time.

I'd have to concur with that. When considering what I felt was, and  
subsequent discussion demonstrates is a reasonably tricky issue, that  
of how to properly markup the weights, or popularity of tags, I kept  
in mind

1. appropriate use of HTML
2. what developers are likely to actually adopt, based on an analysis  
of current practice, my anecdotal knowledge of widespread current  
practices, and a straw poll of some developers I know

One important aspect of the latter is stylability. The title  
attribute of a link if styled with attribute selectors, won't  
actually appear styled in any current released version of IE for  
Windows. So to my mind that excludes using title (at least alone)  
because tagclouds would be effectively useless for the majority of  
todays web users, and so what developer would use title for this?

It's an interesting issue. In the case of some microformats, for  
example rating is hReview, or XFN, it's not that big a deal. But  
tagclouds are somewhat different - the visual nature of them is a  
strong driver of their appeal.

This raises a secondary issue, straight from the uf process


If I looked at this microformat in a browser that didn't support CSS  
or had CSS turned off, would it still be human-readable?
Are this format's elements stylable with CSS?

In the first instance, in one sense it would be readable  - you could  
read the words. But in a sense, no, as the meaning of the tagcloud is  
lost - we just get an alphabetical list of words with no indication  
of how they compare with one another in terms of say popularity - or  
whatever the cloud represents.

Are they stylable with CSS? Well, title is stylable thusly

a[title="vv-popular"] {}

But as observed elsewhere, as IE 6 and older on windows do't support  
it, is it in reality stylable?

so, in fact, "styling is not themicroformat's job" does not entirely  
reflect at least the published process of developing a uf

Thanks Drew and Stephen for the thoughtful comments


John Allsopp

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