<entry-title>Introduction to Microformats</entry-title>
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 "plain old semantic HTML" (i.e. "posh") with a set of common existing-classes and "rel" values. 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 organizations to publish richer information themselves, without having to rely upon centralized services
- an acknowledgement that (outside of specialist areas) "traditional" metadata efforts (e.g. meta tags) have either failed or taken so long to garner any adoption, that a new approach was necessary
- a way to use well formed 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 has been drawn is to REST in the API / web services world - for more on REST see suggested reading on REST.
It's easy to get started with microformats:
- Get Started with adding microformats to your HTML
- Emily Lewis's excellent series of articles:
- More Articles, press interviews, and presentations
- Listen to microformats podcasts about microformats
- Read the FAQs for general microformats questions
- More suggested reading
- So you want to implement microformats?
- Sitepoint has a nice introductory tutorial: Microformats - Plugging the Gaps in HTML
- Premasagar has written up some nice microformats examples with source.