[uf-discuss] Apple Data Detectors
guillaume at lebleu.org
Tue Feb 5 15:01:55 PST 2008
Thom Shannon wrote:
> Not sure if anyone's mentioned this before but the new version of Apples
> Mail has functionality similar to what microformats is trying to enable
> (hCard and hCal)
> You can mouse over data in an email like addresses, phone numbers and
> dates, then add them to your address book/calendar.
> A few things spring to mind:
> a) Does it use microformats if they're present? - I just tested it, it
> put the postcode in the state field so I guess not
> b) Wouldn't it be nice to get hold of their pattern matching code!
> c) Interesting how they've done the interface, not too far from some
> mock-ups I saw for FF3, what can we learn from it?
Thom, you probably have found
http://www.miramontes.com/writing/add-cacm/index.php, which describes
ADD as it was introduced in 1998. The side column only mentions that the
current implementation looks Livedoc/ADD-like. It was an interesting
read to me.
What I have been thinking more and more and what this tells me again is
that the same way we talk of POSH and microformats, we could talk of
plain text or plain old english formats, essentially standardizing how
people write dates, addresses, etc on the Web or on their emails. Asking
people to write "Tuesday, February 5, 2008" in this order, with the
commas, etc. is very likely even simpler for normal people than writing
<abbr class="foo" title="2008-05-02">Tuesday, February 5, 2008</abbr>.
Knowing that receivers will be able to do more with this just by writing
it this way, like not forgetting your event, is a big value when
comparing it to the additional costs. Even english writers can do this,
not just Web developers. Of course, the issue is that this is currently
an Apple-only plain-text microformats and implementing may be a bit more
work than parsing a microformat (only guessing here). So cheap
publishing costs, but possibly more expensive/not as widely available
I wonder if this technology could not be used in a reverse way: detect
formats as I'm typing (names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) in plain
english and convert them in microformats (cheap publishing costs, cheap
consumption costs). The way I see it is that it would provide some
code-autocompletion-like feature that makes a little calendar or contact
list show up as I'm writing. For instance, if I start to type "Thanks
Tho", "Tho" is recognized as being likely a person (following "Thanks" +
I have two people in my contacts matching "Tho"), and I'm prompted to
confirm whether I'm talking about Thom or Thomas. I select Thom and
behind the seen the right microformat is added to my content for the
convenience of those that will consume my content.
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