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Thing Brainstorming

This page is to collect ideas about an "thing" microformat or design pattern, for representing things that physically exist. At this point, my thinking is to aim for understanding the intersection not the union of attribute of things!



Introduction to the idea


  • items/things are used in other micrformats
  • unlike people and places, items do not currently get a "container"; thus, attributes being associated with a (say) Review actually should be attached the thing itself
  • to cut down on the work required to create new microformats about things (wine, houses, cars, ...)


This is very much analogous to hCard and there is no reason that this shouldn't reuse as much as possible of this. In particular:

  • fn - the name of an item
  • url - the web address of an item
  • photo - a photo of an item
  • adr - the address of an item (for example, a house)
  • geo - likewise

More of this will be discovered in the examples discovery.

hThing-based microformats


This may just be a design pattern -- that is, a template for create new microformats in the future. If it is a microformat, how we identify the type of thing is an open question -- we could do it like phone number types in hCard or it could be a new class element (or both). I.e. do we create a top-level class "hWine" or do we do <span class="type">wine</a>

New Attributes

One can see that there are many common properties that can be shared about different types of things. Manufactor, brand name, generic name, color.... The base item microformat may avoid trying to define this and instead allow new/future microformats to do the discovery.

  • Quantity - can be assumed to be 1 unless specified.

hItem and hCard

Immediately the idea of a hItem demands the idea of the option for a contained hCard for the owner, but what about a large qauntity of items owned by a single owner. Would a hCard be required in each hItem, or would it be possible to wrap all the hItems in a hCard?

Analysis of Examples

Tier 1: in use in microformats today

Tier 2: common to 80%+ of examples

Tier 3: less frequently used items

Tier 4: specific to particular thing-types

How this could be used

This section is meant to explore the ways that a item/thing microformat would be used in practice.

1. As a design pattern

That is, we following exactly the pattern that hListing/hReview does. A number of attributes, taken mainly/entirely available from hCard, can be used to describe items/things. These are grouped together by whatever class name is most useful, typically "item":

<div class="item">
  <span class="fn">Some Thing</span>
  <img class="photo" src="..." />

2. As an ever expanding uF

Under this this method, we would explicitly identify a "hitem" class (precident says we could call the uf top level class "item" also), a "type" field of some sort would identify the type of the thing and other attributes would be defined ... some way.

<div class="item hitem">
  <span class="fn">Some Thing</span>
  (<span class="type">wine</a>)
  <img class="photo" src="..." />  

I don't particularly care for this method.

3. As a composite

See Also