calendar (and other) items aren't always tidy (was: Re: [uf-discuss] using microschema)

Scott Reynen Scott at
Tue Nov 27 06:37:06 PST 2007

On Nov 26, 2007, at 3:57 PM, ken wrote:

> The idea of a semantic web is absolutely cool and I'm really looking
> forward to the day when we have some standards agreed upon and we can
> all start implementing them.

I think we're long past that day, not just with microformats but also  
with RDF vocabularies and various other ad-hoc standards.  People have  
been implementing tools based on such standards for years now.

> At the same time, I want those standards
> to represent enough forward thinking that we don't end up
> un-implementing them in favor of something else.  So...

We generally try to avoid consideration of hypothetical future  
scenarios here, as few of us can predict the future with much accuracy.

> Maybe I'm thinking too far outside the box, but it looks like the
> formats proposed thus far all assume that the (html) content we'll be
> "semanticizing" is going to written in such a way as to accommodate  
> the
> format, that all the information going (ultimately) into, say, the  
> vCard
> for one person will be presented discretely from the vCard information
> for another person.

This is largely true; however, there has already been some work on  
addressing this issue, both in specific formats, and more generally:

> For example, suppose we have the following text in
> a (fictitious local sports) webpage:
> "Bobby and Billy are on the same football team and on Sunday they're
> playing against the Falcons, whose coach is Ron Smith.  Ron Smith is
> Bobby and Billy's father.  The brothers are also the star quarterback
> and star fullback at Pittsfield High."
> In short, in this paragraph the information on one person is
> interspersed with information about the others.

As I suggested above, you're not likely to find much interest here in  
hypothetical examples.  Until we have more real-world examples of this  
kind of interspersed content, it won't be seen as a high-priority  
issue.  If and when it becomes a high-priority issue, we should be  
able to develop a solution without significantly changing existing  
microformat semantics, so we don't have to worry about changing  
everything later.  If you have any real-world examples of this  
problem, I'd encourage you to add them to the MFO page in the wiki.

> Moreover, though the
> paragraph doesn't say explicitly, we know that the brothers' last name
> is Smith.  In realworld texts, the information on people is seldom
> separated out in a way convenient for the sort of formatting which has
> been proposed

Microformats aren't merely proposals.  They're being published widely  
and used effectively in many applications.  One of the ways in which  
this problem is already addressed is the include pattern, which allows  
the inclusion of content outside the root container:

> I would think, too, that a lot of the work
> that will arise after semantic formatting is implemented will be in
> older, already published texts, stuff that can't be rewritten with
> semantic formatting in mind.

Indeed, that's one of the key goals of microformats - they don't  
require significant revision of existing HTML to use.


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