[uf-discuss] An Inconvenient hCard

Paul Wilkins pmw57 at xtra.co.nz
Mon Mar 12 11:20:58 PST 2007

James Craig wrote:

> Paul Wilkins wrote:
>> With the abbr design pattern, you encode the machine-readable info  
>> around the human-readable words.
>> <p class="tel"><abbr class="type" title="fax">Téléc</abbr>: <span  
>> class="value">(514) 123-4568</span></p>
>> http://microformats.org/wiki/abbr-design-pattern has more details  on 
>> the abbre design pattern.
> This is a misuse of abbr at best.
> See: open issue! 2007-01-26
> http://microformats.org/wiki/hcard-issues

 I also see that you are the author of that open issue, and that it's 
been rejected.

The abbr design pattern is the currently accepted microformat method in 
which to provide machine readable information for human readable content,
as it's defined in the TEL Type Definition at 

<span class="tel">
 <abbr class="type" title="pref">my</abbr> 
 <span class="type">work</span> 
 <abbr class="type" title="voice">phone</abbr>, with 
 <abbr class="type" title="msg">voicemail</abbr>:
 <span class="value">+1-213-555-1234</span>

While the abbr element isn't being used strictly as it was originally 
intended, there are sufficient grounds to continue using it for the 
purpose of microformats.

The purpose of the abbr design pattern is formally to
- to make text that is human readable also formally machine readable

So in this case, the "Téléc" is readable to (french) humans, while the 
title="fax" is machine readable
<p class="tel"><abbr class="type" title="fax">Téléc</abbr>: <span  
class="value">(514) 123-4568</span></p>

The stated situations where the abbr design pattern is to be avoided is 
when it's used
- to re-encode human text or to hide data

Which would make the following an incorrect use, as the type is being 
hidden from view
<p class="tel"><abbr class="type" title="fax">(514) 123-4568</abbr></p>

I have yet to find a succinct example of re-encoding human text.

Other solutions that have been tempting have been the use of namespaces, 
but they have long been considered to be harmful.
So failing that, what else comes even close? The DFN element?

Paul Wilkins

Paul Mark Wilkins
New Zealand Tourism Online
pmw57 at xtra.co.nz <mailto:pmw57 at xtra.co.nz>
109 Tuam Street
Level 1
Christchurch 8011
New Zealand
+64 3 963 5039

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