[uf-discuss] microformats for normal people, like my mum

Thom Shannon thom at ts0.com
Thu Jun 28 06:40:53 PDT 2007

I get your point, but as Alex pointed out people are interested in this 
microformats thing but dont want to call it that, journos are refusing 
to talk about it because "the term 'microformats' would only appeal to 
developers, and not the average reader"

We need a way to get across to people that content can be lifted out of 
pages and used in useful ways, when those pages support it. And people 
need to call it something. Maybe it should just be "Reusable Information".

"This information is reusable, click here to see how"
"Reuse this > Add to address book"

Ben Ward wrote:
> On 27 Jun 2007, at 23:09, Thom Shannon wrote:
>> I know this topic comes up a lot and we'd all like to see 
>> Microformats change the lives of millions of ordinary internet users, 
>> that's why we're all here!
>> My friend just asked me an interesting question, is Microformats the 
>> right name for it?
> Sorry, but this discussion seems absurd to me.
> Microformats is a good name for developers. It encompasses a large 
> range of different, mostly discrete and often unrelated data formats. 
> It has nothing at all to do with user-facing exposure of that data.
> No-one is ever (read: should ever) create a web browser with a ‘Get 
> Microformats’ button other than as a developer testing tool. But the 
> idea that we need some other name with ‘Super’, ‘Hyper’ and ‘Smart’ in 
> the name is verging on the hilarious.
> Here's what should happen:
> Developers will use a microformat in their page to describe reviews, 
> addresses or calendar appointments. User agents will then expose them 
> as… reviews, addresses and calendar appointments.
> I cannot for the life of me see why we are trying to abstract useful 
> functionality at a user-end with a nonsensical name like ‘Smart Data’ 
> when ‘Address’, ‘Event’ and ‘Location’ have served the English 
> language very well so far.
> Finally, an all-encompassing term for all microformats going to be 
> useless to end users. Apart from the aforementioned abstraction of 
> what the data really is and really should be used for, microformats 
> are so varied that a generic term will be meaningless. XOXO and Geo? 
> Branding them ‘Hyper Smart Data Enabled’ isn't going to help an end 
> user any more than ‘microformat’. Exposing functionality where useful 
> is. And that functionality doesn't need a µf.org endorsed name; the 
> functionality should be named as appropriate, not the data format.
> To draw a parallel: We do not ‘consume HTML documents’, we ‘read web 
> pages’. Consumers of microformats will not ‘consume Smart Data’ they 
> will ‘add contacts to their address books’, ‘print address labels’, 
> ‘find other employees of this organisation’ and ‘show a map of this 
> location’. I would strongly discourage any implementer from trying to 
> dress up simple functionality with a catch-all term. It will be 
> utterly confusing users with yet another hunk of IT jargon.
> Thanks,
> Ben
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