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

Manu Sporny msporny at digitalbazaar.com
Thu Aug 28 23:06:50 PDT 2008

Ben Ward wrote:
>> 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?
> I'm not sure I completely see the benefit in this, and seeing your
> examples would be very helpful in getting a better idea of what you're
> proposing. 

I'll get a set of examples written up soon, then.

> From your bullet points, it seems to suggest taking
> microformat vocabularies and expressing them in RDFa, rather than HTML?
> It seems redundant for publishers.

No, the markup would still happen in HTML, using Microformat properties,
but instead of using @class, we MAY (not MUST) use @typeof, @property,
and @content (in the case of machine-readable data) to express

The key being that these attributes are specifically designed to contain
semantic data. Here's a brief example showing how we could get rid of
the ABBR design problem by re-using RDFa's @content attribute. Note that
this would work in HTML 4.01, XHTML1.1 and XHTML2:

<div typeof="haudio">
   <span property="title">Start Wearing Purple</span> by
   <span property="contributor">Gogol Bordello</span>
   <span property="published" content="20020514">May 14th, 2002</span>

> However, I do have a somewhat related issue that you might consider part
> of this effort. Some discussions I've had lately revealed usefulness in
> being able to _map_ microformats into RDF, for the purpose of combining
> microformats with other RDF vocabularies in a back-end somewhere (so,
> conversion for processing, rather than publishing. Publishing remains in
> HTML where it is most effective).

Publishing would stay in HTML, where it is most effective. Nobody is
suggesting that it move elsewhere - RDFa follows the same principles as
Microformats in this case.

As for the mapping between uF/RDF Vocabularies, I started a page to do
just that back in October 2007:


Want me to move it to Microformats.org?

> I'm told that RDF ‘versions’ of vcard and icalendar are out of date
> compared to the microformats. 

I don't think they are, but could be mistaken...

The last update to VCARD was on 22 February 2001:
and the vocabulary:

The last update to iCalendar was on 29 September 2005
and the vocabulary:

> As such, it strikes me that rather than
> maintaining duplicate specifications, it would instead make sense to
> develop a set of standard transformations so that any microformat can be
> transformed from HTML to RDF, without requiring duplicate effort to
> maintain another spec. This I'm sure would relate closely to GRDDL,
> since that already deals with transformation.

Yes, agreed, that would be useful.

> Note, I'm talking about mapping rules, not separate specs. For example,
> we have the ‘jCard’ page on the wiki, which I still feel should be more
> generic ‘JSON Mapping Rules’ page that can cover parsing from any
> format, not just hcard. 

We're also working on that in our company, but internally for now. There
is the issue of a generic object representation format for semantic data
objects. We have a generalized RDF-based representation for RDFa and
Microformats now... but didn't think this community would be interested
in such a solution. Should a wiki-page be started on various "JSON
Mapping Rules" between uF/RDFa to JSON?

-- manu

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