[uf-discuss] social network portability and xfn+hcard

Martijn Stegeman martijnst at gmail.com
Wed Dec 9 05:59:38 PST 2009

Hello all,

I have been implementing a few microformats on a site that hosts my
main personal profile. Some personal information with hCard and quite
a few links, including me-links, group-links and xfn-links. Also, I
love the concept of social network portability and I feel my personal
profile site is complete enough for other sites to gather my personal
info and contacts.

Now, the third part of the publishing recipe for social network
portability describes:

3. implement hCard wherever a user's name is mentioned in lists, in
comments, in messages or wherever else it would help to identity that
a "person" or "organization" is being referred to.

My question: why would I do this -- in relation to social network
portability? As I see it, XFN provides me with the means to link from
my personal graph to some else's personal graph. Shouldn't this
ideally be enough to identify my contacts? (Especially when my
contacts have formed their own personal graph using rel=me links.)

There are two problems I see with this:

- It makes the process of identifying contacts unnecessarily fuzzy.
- XFN-only contacts may not be seen by parsers that expect hCard
attributes in contact lists.

You might argue that XFN is currently not enough for a parser to
identify all of my contacts, as XFN is not widely spread. But should
that be a reason to include this recommendation in the design pattern?
The more websites follow the portability pattern, the less need there
is for this specific part.


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