[uf-discuss] Potential for Microformats.org to work with W3C and RDFa Task Force

Manu Sporny msporny at digitalbazaar.com
Thu Aug 28 12:24:25 PDT 2008

Hi uFers,

RDFa is going to become an official W3C standard in the next 2-3 months.

Martin McEvoy had posted something about two weeks ago on the RDFa
mailing list stating that he'd like to use RDFa to express Microformats:


At first, I dismissed it as something this community would not be
interested in, and even if they were, something that the RDFa community
wouldn't be interested in doing. Shame on me for assuming without
checking with both communities first! Over the past week, I've been
thinking about some of the stuff Mark Birbeck (who started the RDFa
initiative) said several months ago and what Martin re-iterated in his
e-mail two weeks ago:

There should be a way to provide Microformats-like markup using RDFa.
Afterall, it would solve the unified parser/markup issue that some
(both inside and outside this community) have with Microformats.

So, I drew together a very quick proposal before the RDFa Task Force
meeting this morning:

It is possible to use RDFa attributes to replace/enhance usage of the
@class attribute and the ABBR design pattern in Microformats. We should
be able to do so without introducing the concept of namespaces to the
author that is marking up content - keeping the simplicity of
Microformats authoring intact. Doing so would provide a unified model of
semantics expression between RDFa and Microformats. It would also
provide one unified parser that could parse both namespaced RDFa and
non-namespaced Microformats.

Here's a link to the discussion:

The group was very enthusiastic - they would like to work with the
Microformats community to address some of these long standing issues in
our community. If we are successful in this endeavor, it would mean:

- 9 additional parsers that could parse Microformats.
- A unified parsing model in addition to the ad-hoc one provided by
- A full test suite for the unified parsing model.
- A unified method of Microformats and RDFa expression in HTML4,
  XHTML1.1, and XHTML2.
- A painless upgrade path from Microformats to RDFa if the author so
- A solution to the ABBR accessibility problem.
- A solution to the Microformats containment problem (class="item").
- A solution to the mfo problem.
- A unified method of semantics expression for the web.

It will take a couple of weeks to give examples of how this will all
work, but I wanted to get feedback from this community before
proceeding. We have a fantastic opportunity in front of us now - who in
this community thinks that we should work with the W3C on this endeavor?

-- manu

Manu Sporny
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Bitmunk 3.0 Website Launches

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