[uf-new] Metadata/machine-readable data patterns

Nelson Menezes flying.mushroom at gmail.com
Fri Mar 14 12:50:49 PST 2008

On 14/03/2008, Christopher St John <ckstjohn at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'd read:
>   http://tantek.com/log/2005/06.html#d03t2359

That is a good read, and a good point. I concede that you really don't
want to use hidden data unless there is a good case for it.

>  then spend a bit of time looking through the mailing list and chat logs (google
>  with site:microformats.org is helpful)

I did, but I can't find anything referring specifically to this
scenario. Apologies if I'm a bit thick! If you know of a specific
talk/page I'm happy to read it...

>  Short version: If you gotta hide stuff (like ISO dates), then hide them very,
>  very close to the visible representation on the page of the thing you're hiding.

Agreed. And when there are relevant (i.e. semantically meaningful)
tags or tag attributes that should be the way to go. If, however,
there aren't or they cause significant side-effects, I think that
carefully-thought-through use of <input type="hidden" /> fields could
be a good option.

The ISO date seems like one of these scenarios: the usage of the
<abbr> title attribute makes sense but has practical disadvantages
that (in my opinion) will actually hinder its adoption. For instance,
many designers would dislike the idea of non-human-friendly tooltips
scarring their websites (and so might want to opt out of using the
microformat). More importantly, there's the well-documented
accessibility issue with screen readers.

So I would suggest something like this as the simplest approach for a
date pattern:

<span class="date">March 14th<input type="hidden" value="2008-03-14" /></span>

Is it hidden data? Yes, but so is the title attribute in an <abbr>
tag. This is maybe slightly more "hidden", but I think it's a good

Nelson Menezes
flying.mushroom at gmail.com

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