[uf-new] XFN - Professionals Network microformat

Ryan King ryan at technorati.com
Thu May 10 13:46:13 PDT 2007

On Apr 26, 2007, at 7:06 AM, Guy Fraser wrote:
> 1. XFN doesn't fit in to corporate environments...
> XFN can't really be used in corporate environments - in such  
> environments the Romantic category would instantly be removed  
> (making it a derivative work - see 3) and the remaining categories  
> don't provide enough relationships applicable to such environments  
> (eg. client, supplier, etc) which are very difficult to add (see 3  
> and 4).

There's nothing wrong with supporting only a subset of the standard.  
Those in corporate environments can easily leave out the romantic  
section in their implementations.

> 2. Issues with existing XFN rel's...
> The "muse" should not be in the romantic category, full stop. I've  
> seen numerous people asking about this on lists (here and  
> elsewhere) and even in the wiki. Each time the simple fact that  
> "muse" doesn't belong in the romantic category is dodged by a non- 
> obvious definition of the romantic category (especially considering  
> the other things in that category) or the topic gets changed to a  
> discussion about "let's talk about the Romans...", etc. Why not  
> just move "muse" to a more logical category? Again, that would be a  
> derivative work (see 3).

How does the mis-categorization of muse affect whether you can adopt  
it or not? You don't have to use the labels from the XFN profile in  
your applications. You don't even have to support all of the properties.

> There are some conflicts/overlap of existing uF rels with these:  
> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#linkTypes (eg.  
> "contact" is defined differently by this document and doesn't seem  
> to match up with XFN's version).  Is WHATWG somehow related to XFN  
> and microformats.org, which list of rel's takes precedence, who  
> owns the copyright, etc? I'm pretty new to all this so I don't know  
> how all these things fit together.

Well, unless you're using HTML5, this is current irrelevant. Also,  
there are people who span both communities who are working on  
convergence. Remember, HTML5/WA is a draft.

> ...
> 4. The community seems restrictive...
> It's not possible to suggest new rel's without research and real- 
> world examples but corporates tend not to adopt things unless  
> there's something already in place.
> To get corporates to try something, they need to see that others  
> are trying it (generally speaking) and that there is some existing  
> community drive behind it. But that's not possible because I can't  
> submit ideas to XFN until after the corporates have tried it. It's  
> a chicken-and-egg situation.
> I can't make my own derivative work of XFN to try with some clients  
> because a) they won't try it if it doesn't fit in with existing  
> stuff and b) how do I get authorisation to make a derivative work,  
> especially when I can't provide examples of real-world use...?

I'm not sure this is a big problem. Just because some people won't  
experiment with new markup techniques does not mean we can't find  
enough people to do such experimenting.

> ...
> 6. Summary...
> With the licensing, patenting and conflicting versions of the same  
> things are making me *very* hesitant to get involved.
> When I was told about uF's, they were presented to me by friends as  
> a community of developers coming up with ways to descrive things  
> using semantically correct markup in a human friendly format.  
> However, I'm getting an increasingly strong feeling of an  
> environment which is very restrictive and divergent.

I agree, the community is restrictive, but this is done on purpose,  
so that we can be productive and create useful formats.

But, I don't know what you mean by 'divergent'? Are you saying that  
not everyone agrees? If so then I think that's obvious. We're not  
here to get everyone to agree.

> </can>


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