[uf-discuss] Upcoming microformats book with Friends of Ed

John Allsopp john at westciv.com
Wed Jan 17 17:15:17 PST 2007

Hi all,

it's no great secret, but many people on the list probably won't know  
I've been working on a book solely on microformats for Friends of Ed,  
the web design/development focussed offshoot of Apress, these last  
few months. Apart from Brian Suda's PDF book, and of course chapters  
in some books, for example Tantek's Chapter in a recent O'Reilly  
publication, this will be as far as we are aware, the first dead tree  
book entirely devoted to microformats.
Often when books on brand new subject areas come out, they are  
underwritten by a company (who are strongly associated with or own  
the technology, product etc), and who guarantee to purchase a certain  
number of copies, or have other sweeteners. So much kudos to Friends  
of Ed, and editor Chris Mills for having faith almost 10 months ago  
now in a book on ufs. I hope their faith will be repaid, and I have a  
feeling it will.

Brian Suda has been the tech editor, which has been utterly  
invaluable, and I've really tried to cover the field in terms of  
developments, publications using ufs, plugins and other tools, and so  
on. The microformats community definitely gets very extensive  
coverage - people, processes and principles.

The book is well into copy editing now (it will most likely be  
published at the end of March), and a couple of things I just wanted  
to bring to the attention of the uf community, along with of course  
its existence.

I'v needed to gain a lot of permissions for the use of things like  
screenshots - which is easy (in theory) when you have an individual  
developer, or small company (and even large companies like Yahoo and  
Google) -  that is, an individual or entity who "owns" the  
intellectual property. By the way, a very big thank you once more to  
those on this list for your permissions.

With a community, it's a little trickier. Chris Messina raised the  
issue with the suggestion of a community mark, which has been  
discussed to some extent here and elsewhere.


Now, most of the "official" output of the community is explicitly  
licensed under CC attribution licenses (though I've also got in touch  
with the developers of this material where practicable where I've  
used it, as a courtesy).
The publishers are keen to incorporate the microformats logo into the  
cover. I've run this by a couple of people, including Dan Cederholm,  
who designed the icon, and who discusses the design of the icon a  
little in the book. Dan is absolutely fine with the idea of the icon  
being incorporated.

I think that its something of benefit to both the book, and the  
community - it allows people to see at a glance what the book is  
about - and as such a strong, eye catching logo, it will hopefully  
stand out. Hopefully too, the book will help in its own little way to  
further establish the strength and value of ufs, and to help build  
the base of publishers using them. To tell the truth, that was  
probably as strong a motivator for me with writing the book as any  
(I've turned down more than one book over the last decade - as anyone  
who writes one will tell you, they are a lot of work, and pay about  
as well as making pizzas did when I was a student ;-) I thought this  
was a book really worth writing, and luckily, one publisher was  
willing to take a punt on it.

I do hope it will be a small milestone (and not a large millstone) in  
the evolution and development of microformats.

Thanks for any thoughts you might have,


p.s. I'm working as hard as I can to have as much of it freely  
available as possible. I'm not sure that this means the whole thing  
will be, or at least not just yet, in fact that's not really likely,  
but hopefully valuable parts of it will be.

John Allsopp

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