[uf-discuss] 'currency' microformat straw-man proposal.

Joe Andrieu joe at andrieu.net
Thu Sep 21 11:17:24 PDT 2006

Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:
> But aren't Microformats about just documenting what people 
> are already doing.  (I.e., the "cows path" thing.)  Instead 
> of trying to TELL THEM what they should or must be doing.
> If that's the case, then shouldn't we be documenting and 
> allowing things like "CDN" in a currency Microformat too.  
> Since "CDN" is very very common.  And so many people use it.  
> And not forcing them to use "CAD" (or else).
> Because honestly... until I did this last currency 
> globalization project (for work) I ALWAYS used "CDN'.  And 
> only used "CAD" now because we as a team choose to use ISO 4127 codes.
> But I don't think people are going to obey this on the 
> organic Internet.  (They'll just do what they want to a large 
> extent... which is good.)

I think you are missing the whole point of a public standard. Microformats
exists to tell people what to do. ;)  That sounds a bit funny, but I'm

Without clear direction from a standard, people use/do whatever seems
convenient, hence "CDN" and "7/3/06" for July 3, 2006.  And that type of
convenience makes it hard for computers to understand the meaning. With a
standard, people who want to be understood by more people and applications
can do what the standard tells them to do.

The reason for using ISO standards (or other completed specifications)
instead of coming up with our own from the ground up is because we don't
want to repeat the work.  ISO has spent a lot of time discussing and
debating the various merits of different options.  We don't need to repeat
those conversations and spend that time reinventing what already works.
That's where the "cow paths" come in. Your points about CDN are precisely
the type of debate we can avoid by starting with an existing standard.  It
isn't that your points are invalid, it's that a full discussion of the topic
is a much bigger workload than collating and converging from existing
standards.  Plus, with uF you can put "CAD" in an ABBR tag and continue to
use "CDN" in the user-visible region, if you like. So, you aren't really
losing much other than ambiguity.

Would you agree that adopting the ISO date format saved us work?  Seems to
me that adopting the ISO currency abbreviations also saves us work, for the
same reasons.


Joe Andrieu
joe at andrieu.net
+1 (805) 705-8651

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