[uf-new] Receipt microformat

Storset, Leif Leif_Storset at intuit.com
Mon Jul 16 15:06:06 PDT 2007

Fellow microformat enthusiasts,


I work in Intuit's Technology Innovation Group, which explores new and
emerging technologies and helps Intuit product teams adopt them. (For
those outside North America: Intuit is the leading vendor of financial
and tax software for individuals and small business. In America, our
products Quicken, QuickBooks and TurboTax are household names.) 


Our group is interested in microformats - specifically the possibility
of a receipt microformat. We believe that a receipt format for online
stores could significantly reduce data entry for our users. 


Following the "why a new microformat" process:


The PROBLEM: our users currently enter expenses into our software
manually, even when the information is available in digital form. This
is done in lump sums, which hinders further analysis and categorization.
All this can be automated. (Indeed it is already automated through
screen scraping, but this is unreliable, error-prone and not


Is there a SIMPLER PROBLEM? Some components of a receipt are simpler
problems that have been solved. Billing address and delivery address are
obviously vCards; price could use the proposed hCurrency. But data such
as the line items (Product X in quantity N at price Y) would not make
sense out of the context of a "receipt". (hProduct and hListing
obviously come close and might possibly be integrated somehow.)  In
short, we don't see a simpler problem to solve, since we already have
some microformats in place.


Has the problem been SOLVED? As far as we can tell, no. Martin Owens and
Joe Osowski exchanged ideas on this microformat earlier, and we'd like
to build on their work.


In case the purpose of the microformat is not clear, imagine the
following use case: The customer, a Quicken user with the (hypothetical)
Quicken Browser Toolbar, is shopping at Amazon.com and is ready for
checkout. After paying for the purchase, the customer wishes to enter
the data into Quicken. Instead of manually typing everything into
Quicken, the customer selects "Save receipt" from the Quicken Browser
Toolbar, which imports the expense into Quicken. Another possibility is
to use a JavaScript-powered button to copy the receipt to the clipboard
and support pasting the microformat from within Quicken.


We are looking forward to your input and participation. Has the problem
been solved before? Are there other useful microformats already in
existence that could be included in a receipt format? 




Leif Arne Storset

Technology Innovation Group, Intuit

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