[uf-discuss] Microformats UI in Firefox 3

Manu Sporny msporny at digitalbazaar.com
Tue Aug 28 08:09:44 PDT 2007

Alex Faaborg wrote:
> Yes, while previous Firefox designs have focused on the browser
> injecting UI into the page, this discussion is about how the content
> creator should provide links and buttons for acting on microformatted
> content.

I'm probably being a bit dense, but it looks like we're entering into a
philosophical debate. Without taking sides, it looks like the
philosophical rift is this:

Side A: Publishers should be able to specify UI elements for their
Microformatted content in their HTML.

Side B: The browser should be solely responsible for injecting UI into
the page?

This debate has been tracked on the wiki:


The current resolution is to leave implementation for user actions up to
the browser and uF plug-ins. Without going into the nasty details, which
are fully documented on the wiki, there is opposition to directly
specifying UI through uF markup. Microformats are about data, not UI.

That being said, if there is a desire to add generic UI actions to any
sort of semantic data (keep in mind eRDF and RDFa), the one idea that
seems to be most compatible with "Microformats are about data" but able
to give the publishers of any semantic data some control over the UI is
the "uf:// protocol idea".

Perhaps a generic set of "actions" that are defined by all semantic data
communities (uF, eRDF, RDFa, etc.). The assumption is that some sort of
ID mechanism is utilized. So for data like this:

<div id='alex-faaborg' class='vcard'>...</div>

Something like the following:

<a href="action://addressbook/add/alex-faaborg">Add to address book</a>
<a href="action://addressbook/mail/alex-faaborg">E-mail Alex</a>

Here are some other examples:


The above mechanism would allow people to specify default behaviors for
actions. Some could specify that "action://map/" is handled by Yahoo
Maps, while others might choose Google Maps or Microsoft Streets and Trips.

It is important that the Firefox developers not only think of
Microformats, but eRDF, RDFa, and other semantic markup technologies
that are coming down the pipeline.

-- manu

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list