Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns.
- A way of thinking about data
- Design principles for formats
- Adapted to current behaviors and usage patterns (“Pave the cow paths.”)
- Highly correlated with semantic XHTML, AKA the real world semantics, AKA lowercase semantic web, AKA lossless HTML
- A set of simple open data format standards that many are actively developing and implementing for more/better structured blogging and web microcontent publishing in general.
- “An evolutionary revolution”
- All the above.
Microformats are not
- A new language
- Infinitely extensible and open-ended (though microformats2 is a bit more extensible)
- An attempt to get everyone to change their behavior and rewrite their tools
- A whole new approach that throws away what already works today
- A panacea for all taxonomies, ontologies, and other such abstractions
- Defining the whole world, or even just boiling the ocean
- Any of the above
The microformats principles
- Solve a specific problem
- Start as simple as possible
- Design for humans first, machines second
- Reuse building blocks from widely adopted standards
- Modularity / embeddability
- Enable and encourage decentralized development, content, services