hReview 0.4 (in progress)

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This document represents a draft microformat specification. Although drafts are somewhat mature in the development process, the stability of this document cannot be guaranteed, and implementers should be prepared to keep abreast of future developments and changes. Watch this wiki page, or follow discussions on the #microformats Freenode IRC channel to stay up-to-date.

hReview is a simple, open, distributed format, suitable for embedding reviews (of products, services, businesses, events, etc.) in HTML, XHTML, Atom, RSS, and arbitrary XML. hReview is one of several microformats open standards.

Want to get started with writing an hReview? Use the hReview creator to write a review and publish it.

Contents

Microformats Draft Specification 2012

copyright and patents statements apply.

Status

hReview 0.4 is a microformats.org draft specification. Public discussion on hReview takes place on hreview-feedback, the #microformats irc channel on irc.freenode.net, and microformats-discuss mailing list.

Available languages

The English version of this specification is the only normative version. For translations of this document see the #translations section.

Errata and Updates

Known errors and issues in this specification are corrected in resolved and closed issues. Please check there before reporting issues.

The hReview 0.4 update is currently under development and incorporates known errata corrections as well as the value-class-pattern.

Introduction

Numerous web sites publish reviews using a broad variety of schema for all sorts of things from products (movies, music, books), to businesses (restaurants, hotels, stores), to events (concerts, theatre), to people (artists, leaders, celebrities), to places (landmarks, parks), to online resources (web pages, files), to reviews of reviews themselves.

In order to enable and encourage the sharing, distribution, syndication, and aggregation, of reviews, the authors propose the hReview microformat, an open standard for distributed reviews. The authors have researched both numerous review-examples in the wild and earlier attempts at review-formats, and have designed hReview around a simple minimal schema for reviews. Feedback is encouraged on the hReview feedback page.

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

Scope

Reviews consistently share several common aspects. Where possible hReview has been based on this minimal common subset.

Out of scope

Portions of reviews that are specific to particular kinds of items have been omitted from hReview. It is important that hReview be kept simple and minimal from the start. Additional features can be added as deemed necessary by practical implementation experience.

The concept of a "universal object identifier", that is, how to identify the same object/item/product across different shopping sites, though something very useful to have, is outside the scope of this format.

Format

In General

The hReview format is based on a set of properties common to numerous review sites and formats in use today on the web. Where possible property names have been chosen based on those defined by the related hCard and hCalendar standards.

Schema

The hReview schema consists of the following:

Property details

Details of the hReview properties:

summary:: This optional property serves as a short synopsis, title, or name of the review. Re-used from hCalendar which re-uses it from iCalendar (section 4.8.1.12 of RFC 2445).

type:: This optional property provides the type of the item being reviewed, one of the following: product, business, place, person, event, website, url. If omitted, then in some cases the item type may be inferred. If the item is also an hCard, then the item type is a "business", "place", or a "person" based upon which of those the hCard represents. If the item is also an hCalendar event, then the item type is an "event".

item:: This required property MUST have at a minimum the name (using the subproperty "fn" - the formatted text corresponding to the name, except for an event item which MUST have the "summary" subproperty inside the respective hCalendar "vevent") of the item (an hReview describes only one item), SHOULD provide at least one URI ("url") for the item, and MAY provide at least one URL to a photo or depiction ("photo") of the item. For items of type person or business, the item info (fn, url, photo) MUST be encapsulated in an hCard. For items of type event, the item info SHOULD be encapsulated in an hCalendar "vevent". Non-URL unique item IDs (e.g. ISBNs, UPCs) MAY be represented as a URN ("url") for the item. Encapsulated microformats (e.g. hCard and hCalendar events for now) may be set on the item itself (e.g. class="item vcard"). However, when using item info subproperties ("fn", "url", "photo"), they MUST be nested inside the item element.

reviewer:: The optional property specifies the person who authored the review. If the reviewer is specified, an hCard representing the reviewer MUST be provided. For anonymous reviews, use "anonymous" (without quotes) for the full name of the reviewer. If no "reviewer" is found inside the hReview, parsers SHOULD look outside the hReview, in the context of the page, for the "reviewer". If there is no "reviewer" outside either, then parsers SHOULD use the author defined by the containing document language, e.g. for HTML documents, the <address> contact info for the page (which is ideally marked up as an hCard as well), for Atom 1.0 the <entry> <author> if present and if not the <feed> <author>, for RSS the <author> inside the containing <item> element.

dtreviewed:: This optional property when present MUST provide an ISO8601 absolute date or date time of when the review was written or otherwise authored (http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-datetime). This property must use the value-class-pattern if necessary (e.g. for accessibility, SHOULD use UTC, but MAY use the time zone offset syntax. If dtreviewed is absent from the hReview, then look outside the hReview, in the surrounding context. If the context is an hAtom entry, use its "published" (or "updated" if that is missing) datetime as the dtreviewed, if not present on the entry, use the "published" (or "updated" if that is missing) of the feed. Otherwise use the creation date (or modified date if that is missing) information according to the containing document language (e.g. "published"/"updated" similarly for Atom feeds), then protocol (e.g. HTTP Last-Modified, or file system last modified datetime) as the dtreviewed.

rating:: The rating is a fixed point integer (one decimal point of precision) from 1.0 to 5.0 inclusive indicating a rating for the item, higher indicating a better rating by default. Optionally a different integral "worst" value and/or "best" value MAY be specified to indicate a different range (e.g. 6 from 0-10). The "best" value may be numerically smaller than the "worst" value.

description:: This optional property serves as a more detailed synopsis of the review (i.e. full text representing the written opinion of the reviewer) than that provided by summary. The property MAY include valid HTML markup (e.g. paragraphs). User agents SHOULD preserve any markup. Multiple descriptions or section descriptions (e.g. pros and cons, pluses and minuses) SHOULD be included in the description property.

tags:: Tags are represented using a list of keywords or phrases (using the rel-tag microformat for each individual keyword or phrase tag) that the reviewer associates with the item. The reviewer MAY optionally provide a tag-specific rating inside each rel-tag, e.g. ambiance:5. Tag-specific ratings by default use the same range as an overall rating for the item if present, and MAY also have a custom worst...best range specified. Authors MAY also invert this structure for the same semantic if it is more convenient for their markup, that is, place the rel-tag inside a rating to indicate a rated tag. Note: rated tags SHOULD ideally use a tag space that explains what the ratings for that tag mean. E.g. Food:18/30 SHOULD link to a tags space for Food that explains what an 18 out of 30 means for the Food tag.

permalink:: This optional property is a URL for the hReview. In addition to using the <a href> tag for this property, the attribute rel="self bookmark" MUST be used to indicate that the hyperlink is a permalink for the review itself. If the hyperlink already contains a rel attribute, then the values self and bookmark MUST be included among the space-separated set of values in the attribute. Indexers MAY treat the permalink of a review as a unique ID in order to identify and collate the same review from multiple sources (such as indexing a page multiple times). The permalink MAY also be used to indicate or imply the origin of the review. Authors MAY use the classname of "permalink" on the element representing the permalink.

license:: an hReview indicates the license for its contents using the rel-license microformat.

The following property names have been reused from the hCard and hCalendar microformats: summary, fn, url, photo, description. In addition, items and reviewers described by hCards MAY contain any hCard property. The rel value "self" has been reused from the Atom 1.0 specification.

More Semantic Equivalents

For some properties there is a more semantic equivalent, and therefore they get special treatment, e.g.:

Language

Human vs. Machine Readable

If an <abbr> element is used for a property, then its 'title' attribute is used for the value of the property, instead of the contents of the element, which can then be used to provide a user-friendly alternate presentation of the value.

Similarly, if an <img /> element is used for one or more properties, it MUST be treated as follows:

  1. For the "photo" property and any other property that takes a URL as its value, the src="..." attribute provides the property value.
  2. For other properties, the <img /> element's 'alt' attribute is the value of the property.

Includes

hReview 0.4 includes support for the include-pattern.

Often a single page lists an item, and then several reviews for that item. In order to avoid having to repeat the item info for each review of the item, the first review should be marked up as an hReview, with a unique "id" attribute on the item info, and then following reviews should use the object include-pattern to include the item info from the first review.

Notes

This section is informative.

Examples

Here are a few examples of reviews from current web sites, and how they could be easily enhanced to support the hReview structured review microformat.

Want to get started with writing an hReview? Use the hReview creator to write a review and publish it on your blog.

Restaurant reviews

Here is an example of a simple online restaurant review:

<div>
 <span>5 stars out of 5 stars</span>
 <h4>Crepes on Cole is awesome</h4>
 <span>Reviewer: <span>Tantek</span> - April 18, 2005</span>
 <blockquote><p>
  Crepes on Cole is one of the best little creperies in San Francisco. 
  Excellent food and service. Plenty of tables in a variety of sizes 
  for parties large and small.  Window seating makes for excellent 
  people watching to/from the N-Judah which stops right outside.  
  I've had many fun social gatherings here, as well as gotten 
  plenty of work done thanks to neighborhood WiFi.
 </p></blockquote>
 <p>Visit date: <span>April 2005</span></p>
 <p>Food eaten: <span>Florentine crepe</span></p>
</div>

Adding hReview to this review is quite simple:

<div class="hreview">
 <span><span class="rating">5</span> out of 5 stars</span>
 <h4 class="summary">Crepes on Cole is awesome</h4>
 <span class="reviewer vcard">Reviewer: <span class="fn">Tantek</span> - 
 <abbr class="dtreviewed" title="2005-04-18">April 18, 2005</abbr></span>
 <div class="description item vcard"><p>
  <span class="fn org">Crepes on Cole</span> is one of the best little 
  creperies in <span class="adr"><span class="locality">San Francisco</span></span>.
  Excellent food and service. Plenty of tables in a variety of sizes 
  for parties large and small.  Window seating makes for excellent 
  people watching to/from the N-Judah which stops right outside.  
  I've had many fun social gatherings here, as well as gotten 
  plenty of work done thanks to neighborhood WiFi.
 </p></div>
 <p>Visit date: <span>April 2005</span></p>
 <p>Food eaten: <span>Florentine crepe</span></p>
</div>

Note that some of the properties of this sample review are not captured by hReview (visit date, food eaten). This is deliberate per the scope of keeping hReview minimal and simple.

This sample hReview could be rendered like this:

5 stars out of 5 stars
Crepes on Cole is awesome
Reviewer: Tantek - April 18, 2005

Crepes on Cole is one of the best little creperies in San Francisco. Excellent food and service. Plenty of tables in a variety of sizes for parties large and small. Window seating makes for excellent people watching to/from the N-Judah which stops right outside. I've had many fun social gatherings here, as well as gotten plenty of work done thanks to neighborhood wifi.

Visit date: April 2005
Food eaten: Florentine crepe

Multidimensional Restaurant Review

Some restaurant reviews indicate ratings for different aspects of the restaurant. Such details are represented in hReview using tagged ratings. In addition, note the inline tags inside the description of this review.

Here is one such review in text format:

Cafe Borrone

1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025, +1-650-327-0830;
cafeborrone.com

Food: 18/30; Ambience: 19/30; Service: 15/30; Price: $$...

This cafe is a welcoming oasis on the Peninsula.  It even has a fountain
outside which cloaks the nearby sounds of El Camino traffic.  Next door to a  
superb indy bookstore, Cafe Borrone is an ideal spot to grab a coffee or a 
snack to accompany a newly purchased book or imported periodical.  Soups and 
sandwich specials rotate daily.  The corn chowder with croutons and big 
chunks of cheese goes especially well with a freshly toasted mini-baguette.  
Evenings are often crowded and may require sharing a table with a perfect 
stranger.  Espresso afficionados will appreciate the Illy coffee.  Noise 
levels can vary from peaceful in the late mornings to nearly overwhelming on 
jazz band nights.

As an hReview:

<div class="hreview">
 <div class="item vcard">
  <div class="fn org summary">Cafe Borrone</div>
  <span class="adr">
   <span class="street-address">1010 El Camino Real</span>,
   <span class="locality">Menlo Park</span>,
   <span class="region">CA</span>
   <span class="postal-code">94025</span>,
  </span>
  <span class="tel">+1-650-327-0830</span>;
  <a class="url" href="http://cafeborrone.com">cafeborrone.com</a>
 </div>
 <ul>
  <li class="rating"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food" rel="tag">
   Food: <span class="value">18</span>/<span class="best">30</span></a>;</li>
  <li class="rating"><a href="http://flickr.com/photos/tags/Ambience" rel="tag">
   Ambience: <span class="value">19</span>/<span class="best">30</span></a>;</li>
  <li class="rating"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service" rel="tag">
   Service: <span class="value">15</span>/<span class="best">30</span></a>;</li>
  <li class="rating"><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price" rel="tag">
   Price: <abbr class="value" title="2">$$</abbr>...</a></li>
 </ul>
 <div class="description"><p>
  This <abbr class="type" title="business">
  <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/cafe" rel="tag">cafe</a></abbr> 
  is a welcoming oasis on the Peninsula.  
  It even has a fountain outside which nearly eliminates 
  the sounds of El Camino traffic.  Next door to a superb indy bookstore, 
  Cafe Borrone is an ideal spot to grab a 
  <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/coffee" rel="tag">coffee</a> 
  or a meal to accompany a newly purchased book or imported periodical.  
  <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/soup" rel="tag">Soups</a> and 
  <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/sandwich" rel="tag">sandwich</a> 
  specials rotate daily.  The corn chowder with croutons and big chunks of cheese 
  goes especially well with a freshly toasted mini-baguette.  Evenings are 
  often crowded and may require sharing a table with a perfect stranger. 
  <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/tags/espresso" rel="tag">Espresso</a> 
  afficionados will appreciate the 
  <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illy" rel="tag">Illy</a> coffee.  
  Noise levels can vary from peaceful in the late mornings to nearly overwhelming on 
  <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/jazz" rel="tag">jazz</a> band nights.
 </p></div>
 <a href="http://microformats.org/wiki/hreview">hReview</a>
 by <span class="reviewer vcard"><span class="fn">anonymous</span></span>, 
 <abbr class="dtreviewed" title="2005-04-28">April 28th, 2005</abbr>.
</div>

With an accompanying CSS style sheet like:

a.url { display:block }
ul { margin:1em 0; padding:0 }
ul li { display:inline }

This hReview could be presented similar to the original text:

Cafe Borrone
1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025, +1-650-327-0830;
cafeborrone.com

Food: 18/30; Ambience: 19/30; Service: 15/30; Price: $$...

This cafe is a welcoming oasis on the Peninsula. It even has a fountain outside which cloaks the nearby sounds of El Camino traffic. Next door to a superb indy bookstore, Cafe Borrone is an ideal spot to grab a coffee or a snack to accompany a newly purchased book or imported periodical. Soups and sandwich specials rotate daily. The corn chowder with croutons and big chunks of cheese goes especially well with a freshly toasted mini-baguette. Evenings are often crowded and may require sharing a table with a perfect stranger. Espresso afficionados will appreciate the Illy coffee. Noise levels can vary from peaceful in the late mornings to nearly overwhelming on jazz band nights.

hReview by anonymous, April 28th, 2005.

Product review

Here is an example of a product review:

<div>
 <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000089CJI/">
  <img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000089CJI.01._SCTHUMBZZZ_.jpg" 
              alt="Album cover photo: The Postal Service: Give Up." />
 The Postal Service: Give Up</a>
 <blockquote><p>
   "The people thought they were just being rewarded for treating others 
    as they like to be treated, for obeying stop signs and curing diseases, 
    for mailing letters with the address of the sender... Don't wake me, 
    I plan on sleeping in..."
   </p><p>
   "Nothing Better" is a great track on this album, too... 
 </p></blockquote>
 (*****)
</div>

Adding hReview to this review is also quite simple, but in this case requires a few more elements for the rating and reviewer which are required by hReview:

<div class="hreview"><span class="item">
 <a class="url fn" href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000089CJI/">
  <img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000089CJI.01._SCTHUMBZZZ_.jpg" 
       alt="Album cover photo: The Postal Service: Give Up. " 
       class="photo" />
  The Postal Service: Give Up</a></span>
 <div class="description"><p>
    "The people thought they were just being rewarded for treating others 
     as they like to be treated, for obeying stop signs and curing diseases, 
     for mailing letters with the address of the sender... Don't wake me, 
     I plan on sleeping in..."
   </p><p>
   "Nothing Better" is a great track on this album, too... 
 </p></div>
 (<abbr class="rating" title="5">*****</abbr>)
 <p class="reviewer vcard">Review by 
  <a class="url fn" href="http://ifindkarma.com/blog/">Adam Rifkin</a>, 
  <abbr class="dtreviewed" title="2005-02">February 2005</abbr>
 </p>
</div>

And this hReview might be presented like this:


[Album cover photo: ] [The Postal Service:] [ Give Up ]

The Postal Service: Give Up

"The people thought they were just being rewarded for treating others as they like to be treated, for obeying stop signs and curing diseases, for mailing letters with the address of the sender... Don't wake me, I plan on sleeping in..."

"Nothing Better" is a great track on this album, too...

(*****)

Review by Adam Rifkin, February 2005.

Movie Review

Finally, here is an example of a movie review.

<div>
 <span>anonymous, April 18th, 2005</span>
 <div>
  <a lang="zh" href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299977/">
  Ying Xiong (<span lang="en">HERO</span>)
  </a>
 </div>
 <div>Rating: 4 out of 5</div>
 <blockquote><p>
  This movie has great visuals and music.
 </p></blockquote>
</div>

With hReview:

<div class="hreview">
 <span class="reviewer vcard">
  <span class="fn">anonymous</span>, 
  <abbr class="dtreviewed" title="2005-04-18">April 18th, 2005</abbr>
 </span>
 <div class="item">
  <a lang="zh" class="url fn" href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299977/">
  Ying Xiong (<span lang="en">HERO</span>)
  </a>
 </div>
 <div>Rating: <span class="rating">4</span> out of 5</div>
 <div class="description"><p>
  This movie has great music and visuals.
 </p></div>
</div>

Which could be presented like this:

anonymous, April 18th, 2005
Ying Xiong (HERO)
Rating: 4 out of 5

This movie has great music and visuals.

Examples in the wild

This section is informative. The number of hReview examples in the wild has expanded far beyond the capacity of being kept inline in this specification. They have been moved to a separate page.

See hReview Examples in the wild.

Implementations

This section is informative. The number of hReview implementations has also expanded beyond the capacity of keeping them inline. They have been moved to a separate page.

See hReview Implementations.

Design Principles

This section is informative. hReview was designed using design principles similar to those that went into hCard and thus this overview is included for informational purposes.

Note: the Semantic XHTML Design Principles were written primarily within the context of developing hCard and hCalendar, thus it may be easier to understand these principles in the context of the hCard design methodology (i.e. read that first). Tantek

XHTML is built on XML, and thus XHTML based formats can be used not only for convenient display presentation, but also for general purpose data exchange. In many ways, XHTML based formats exemplify the best of both HTML and XML worlds. However, when building XHTML based formats, it helps to have a guiding set of principles.

  1. Reuse the schema (names, objects, properties, values, types, hierarchies, constraints) as much as possible from pre-existing, established, well-supported standards by reference. Avoid restating constraints expressed in the source standard. Informative mentions are ok.
    1. For types with multiple components, use nested elements with class names equivalent to the names of the components.
    2. Plural components are made singular, and thus multiple nested elements are used to represent multiple text values that are comma-delimited.
  2. Use the most accurately precise semantic XHTML building block for each object etc.
  3. Otherwise use a generic structural element (e.g. <span> or <div>), or the appropriate contextual element (e.g. an <li> inside a <ul> or <ol>).
  4. Use class names based on names from the original schema, unless the semantic XHTML building block precisely represents that part of the original schema. If names in the source schema are case-insensitive, then use an all lowercase equivalent. Components names implicit in prose (rather than explicit in the defined schema) should also use lowercase equivalents for ease of use. Spaces in component names become dash '-' characters.
  5. Finally, if the format of the data according to the original schema is too long and/or not human-friendly, use <abbr> instead of a generic structural element, and place the literal data into the 'title' attribute (where abbr expansions go), and the more brief and human readable equivalent into the element itself. Further informative explanation of this use of <abbr>: Human vs. ISO8601 dates problem solved

Inspiration and Acknowledgments

Thanks to everyone who responded to the open call for implementor participation for hReview. The authors in particular wish to thank the following individuals for their constructive input and feedback: Richard Ault, Danny Ayers, Jeffrey Barr,Adrian Cuthbert,Jason DeFillippo, Brian Del Vecchio, Scott Derringer, Bud Gibson, Joi Ito, Gen Kanai,Niall Kennedy, Rohit Khare, Ryan King, Jonas Luster, Kevin Marks, Mark Nottingham, Derek Powazek, Jeff Rodenburg, David Sifry, James Stewart, Adriaan Tijsseling, Phillip Torrone, Thai Tran, Phillip Winn, YAMAMOTO Yohei.

hReview v0.3 Authors
Tantek Çelik (tantek.com, and before at Technorati)
Ali Diab (Yahoo! Inc.)
Ian McAllister (Amazon.com)
John Panzer (America Online, Inc.)
Adam Rifkin (CommerceNet Labs)
Michael Sippey (Six Apart, Ltd)

References

Normative References

Informative References

Similar Work

Copyright

This specification is (C) 2005 by the authors. However, the authors intend to submit this specification to a standards body with a liberal copyright/licensing policy such as the GMPG, IETF, and/or W3C. Anyone wishing to contribute should read their copyright principles, policies and licenses (e.g. the GMPG Principles) and agree to them, including licensing of all contributions under all required licenses (e.g. CC-by 1.0 and later), before contributing.

Patents

This specification is subject to a royalty free patent policy, e.g. per the W3C Patent Policy, and IETF RFC3667 & RFC3668.

Work in progress

This specification is a work in progress. As additional aspects are discussed, understood, and written, they will be added.

Changes from v0.3

The following changes have been made in hReview v0.3 over hReview v0.2:

Normative changes:

  1. Add normative references to
    1. value-class-pattern - required for support.
    2. html5 - for HTML5 parsing/DOM
  2. Changed normative references to informative:
    1. Includes delegated fully to include-pattern rather than specifying "Object Includes"
    2. version property dropped. Little if any actual publication in practice, and no practical uses found. Smaller is better.
    3. dtreviewed may also be an absolute ISO8601 date, and must use value-class-pattern if necessary.

Informative changes (several, but in particular):

  1. changed editorship/authorship to just Tantek in prep/heads-up for a rewrite.
  2. examples updated:
    1. dtreviewed property values use date-pattern
    2. version property dropped

Articles

This section is informative.

See: hreview-articles.

Related Pages

Translations

Read the hReview draft specification in additional languages:

Categories

hReview 0.4 (in progress) was last modified: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

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