[uf-new] XFN - Professionals Network microformat

Guy Fraser gfraser at adaptavist.com
Thu May 10 17:33:18 PDT 2007

Ryan King wrote:
> 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.

Apart from the fact that in the case of XFN it's under a cc-by-nd 
license = no derivatives. Removing the romantic category, or adding new 
categories, would be seen as a derivative work would it not? Who exactly 
would we see written authorisation from to enable us to freely make 
derivative works?

>> 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.

I didn't say it would stop me adopting XFN (the licensing, patenting, 
ownership of XFN, especially when used in a Java application, is what's 
stopping me using XFN). I was merely giving an example of an issue with 
XFN (and in light of how easy it would be resolve, I cannot understand 
why it hasn't been resolved already) and also that by me re/moving it 
would effectively be a derivative work "here's XFN without "muse" or 
with it moved somewhere more appropriate".

>> 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.

I am aware of that. I also spotted Tantek's name in the acknowledgements 
section so I was aware of this. That being said, my question still 
remains: That draft will eventually become HTML 5 - what happens if it's 
definition of "contact" conflicts with that of XFN?

> 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.

I've seen several people commenting on how they couldn't get an idea 
added to a uF because of lack of real-world examples. For example, a 
page cannot be created in the wiki until there are real world examples 
unless my understanding is incorrect. Should the process not also 
accommodate uF's that by their mere existence would facilitate new ideas 
and solutions?

>> 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.

I agree that there has to be some restriction - maybe an incubator is 
needed elsewhere for new ideas to be thrashed out in a less restricted 
manner and then, once more fully rounded and thought out, presented to 
the uF community?

> 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.

I answered this in another post - search your inbox for "component uF" 
(for want of a much better term).


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