[uf-new] Recipe

Ben Ward lists at ben-ward.co.uk
Fri Sep 28 03:56:08 PDT 2007

On 27 Sep 2007, at 13:51, Andy Mabbett wrote:
>> We can't expect  people to use precise measurements for  
>> quantities, nor
>> even to  explicitly mark up the order of their steps in anything more
>> than  flowing paragraphs.
> But we can allow them to.

> Fact is, once such a microformat is available, people will use it for
> whatever recipes they see fit, whatever our intentions.

Both of these points are true, and I'm not saying we should actively  
prevent more flexible use of any format that is developed here, but I  
think the development of recipe should be focused on food.

The brainstorm of nutritional information such as calorie counts is  
useful but doesn't apply to the aforementioned bomb making. Of course  
people could use just the required parts of Recipe to define  
instructions for anything, that's fine. But I don't think we should  
exclude anything specific to food for the sake of other uses.

> I maintain that we should build the re-usable microformats  
> (measurement,
> currency, citation) first; then those that will use them.

I completely disagree with this.

A Recipe format can be useful and improve publishing without explicit  
mark-up for measurements and citations. We should not delay  
development of a format that shows so much existing publishing and  
interest from publishers because of missing compound microformats  
which are not attracting the same levels of interest.

In the case of Recipe, I maintain that both quantity and ‘source’  
would be usefully represented as strings. ‘10g’, ‘One handful’,  
‘Three Tablespoons‘ is workable and useful. Similarly, <span  
class="source">Real Food by Nigel Slater</span> is perfectly useful  
in that form.

I think it's a reality of the way in which development currently  
moves in this community; that development and interest comes in  
waves. It means to me that forcing dependencies on undeveloped  
compound microformats, which currently have little interest and  
backing, will in effect kill development of this format which people  
are interested in.

I think it is much more productive to accept that Recipe is capable  
of representing quantities and sources well enough with strings, and  
know that future, more precise microformats (or other technologies  
developed elsewhere, such as MathML) _may_ come in the future that  
can enhance the work we're doing now.

Price in hListing will be enhanced by a future currency microformat,  
but even as a string ‘price’ is useful in Listing. The same is true  
of quantities and citations now.

>>> Measurement System (U.S., Imperial etc)
>> I don't see this being useful. Recipes do not use consistent
>> measurements: There are combinations of metric weights and   
>> approximate
>> ‘handfuls’ and ‘pinches’. Some recipes publish  both metric and
>> imperial measurements alongside each other.
> In that case, perhaps only one system should be microformatted, to  
> avoid
> confusing parsers?

That would work for situations where two different measurement  
formats are placed next to a single ingredient, but does not handle  
different measurements being used in the same recipe for single  
ingredients. I'm not quite sure which issue you were addressing there.

> Imagine you want a parser to compile a shopping list based on a
> selection of recipes; or that you want to provide a web service with a
> list of the potential ingredients you have to hand; and for it to  
> return
> suitable recipes?
> In those cases, "four eggs" is more meaningful than "eggs"; and "500g
> sugar" is more meaningful than "sugar".

Absolutely. Quantity is present throughout examples and all common  
practice I've ever seen (bar the ingredients listing on the backs of  
packaging, but that is ‘nutritional information’ rather than a  
‘recipe’). The presence of quantity as a sub-part of ingredients is  
certain for me.

My points about the precision of quantity is already laid out above.

> Whether an ingredients is optional or required is important (again,
> consider the "ingredients to hand" use case).

Agreed, that's a very good use-case. Needs to be included in a  
language-agnostic manner but writing ‘3 sprigs of parsley (optional)’  
is familiar. I would think that ‘Required’ is implied by the absence  
of ‘Optional’.


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