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Introduction to Microformats
What are Microformats?
Microformats are a way of adding simple markup to human-readable data items such as events, contact details or locations, on web pages, so that the information in them can be extracted by software and indexed, searched for, saved, cross-referenced or combined.
More technically, they are items of semantic markup, using just standard (X)HTML with a set of common class-names. They are open and available, freely, for anyone to use.
Why did we come up with microformats?
In short, microformats are the convergence of a number of trends:
- a logical next step in the evolution of web design and information architecture
- a way for people and organisations to publish richer information themselves, without having to rely upon centralized services
- an acknowledgment that (outside of specialist areas) "traditional" metadata efforts have either failed or taken so long to garner any adoption, that a new approach was necessary
- a way to use (X)HTML for data.
The Appeal to Simplicity
- Microformats are a simple effort which has appealed to many frustrated with previous complex efforts. One parallel that can be drawn is to REST in the web services world, i.e. see this comparison of microformats and REST. See the REST wiki for more about REST. Related microformats and microprotocols.
- See also: Web Services and the Innovators Dilemma by Justin Leavesley
- Recent press interviews and Articles are also a good introduction.
- See microformat presentations for more background and introductory material on microformats.
- Listen to microformats podcasts about microformats.
- More suggested reading
- So you wanna implement microformats?
- microformats podcasts
- Suggested Reading