[uf-discuss] FYI: serialization of hCard into JSON

Glenn Jones glenn.jones at madgex.com
Tue Mar 3 06:31:10 PST 2009

Hi David

I have done quite bit of work around serialising microformats into both
JSON and XML. The current version of my UfXtract parser is designed to
consider the description of microformats as a loadable profiles.  When I
want to add a new microformat I build a new profile object.  As such I
have also been able to build generic JSON/XML serializers and
de-serializers for the parser. They allow me to export and import
microformats in JSON/XML without any data loss or added ambiguity. 

A while back I was really interested in moving this work forward within
the community to get an agreed standard. There did not seem much
interest at the time, so I documented some of my earlier work on wiki
[1].  I think that Toby has since done some work with JSON support in

I have also looked at the Portable Contacts groups work and done some
experimental conversions demos [2].  Although I think this project is a
good idea, they have taken an approach with the scheme that allows for
conversion between the 2 standards but there is some data loss, so it's
not truly compatible.  

jCard[3] is also a good effort, my only problem was I wanted a
serialization structure which can be applied to any microformat.

It's also interesting to look at the work Yahoo has done with YQL [4],
which can parse some microformats and return JSON/XML. Maybe not the
best format, but very interesting toolset.

Although the microformat design process did not originally have the
concept of an output format, there are times when this would be useful.
As parsers mature, we need an easy way to support the interchange and
integration of data. Not just for parsers, but also for the applications
that use them. 

A standard output format should encourage a greater culture of reuse and
sharing between developers and help collaborative projects such as the
building of shared test suites and other tools. 

If you check out the Microformats OAuth demo on my labs site you can see
the serializer and de-serializer in action on the test bed page [5].
You have to create an account on the test site first. [6]

[1] http://microformats.org/wiki/json
[2] http://lab.madgex.com/portablecontacts/
[3] http://microformats.org/wiki/jCard
[4] http://developer.yahoo.com/yql/
[5] http://lab.madgex.com/microformats/apidemo/testbed.aspx
[6] http://ufapi.lab.madgex.com/

Glenn Jones

On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 9:55 AM, David Janes <davidjanes at blogmatrix.com>
> I've been playing about with representing microformats ... hCard in 
> particular ... efficiently and usefully into JSON-type data 
> structures. Here's a blog post on the topic [1].
> Regards, etc...
> [1] 
> http://code.davidjanes.com/blog/2009/03/02/auapi-encoding-hcards-in-js
> on/

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