[uf-discuss] what is a microformat?

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Sun May 6 23:25:35 PDT 2007

On 5/6/07, Scott Reynen <scott at randomchaos.com> wrote:
> On May 6, 2007, at 9:32 AM, Keith Alexander wrote:
> >> Indeed, there are already microformats, such as "nofollow", which we
> >> recognise as such, but which do not appear to have followed that
> >> process.
> >>
> > Given that, I'd perhaps redefine a 'Microformat' as  an HTML
> > convention (can something like 'nofollow' be called a 'data
> > format'?) endorsed by the Microformats community.
> (I've never much liked rel-nofollow, so I'm largely biased when I say
> this:) I think it would be a mistake to redefine microformats such
> that rel-nofollow doesn't stand out.  The open issues in rel-nofollow
> [1] strongly suggest it's not really a microformat at all.  The
> issues are, basically: 1) the semantics are wrong, 2) the name is
> wrong, 3) it doesn't solve a real problem, and 4) it creates new
> problems.  I'd say that makes it almost the antithesis of a microformat.
> [1] http://microformats.org/wiki/rel-nofollow#open_issues
> Peace,
> Scott

I'd agree. rel-nofollow was a misguided abuse of HTML. Such is the
power of large search engines creating HTML conventions for the
benefit of their bottom lines.

I think if you go back to the name... we're not talking about
"micropatterns" (though I've used that for designer-friendly HTML
patterns) but "microformats" -- specifically an alternative to data
formats like RSS, ATOM, vcard and ical. You can certainly have
semantic conventions but semantic conventions alone do not a
microformat make.


Chris Messina
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