microformats

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= microformats =
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<entry-title> microformats </entry-title>
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== What are microformats? ==
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microformats are:
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microformats are the simplest way to openly publish [[hCard|contacts]], [[hCalendar|events]], [[hReview|reviews]], [[hRecipe|recipes]], and other structured information on the web.
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microformats.org maintains the official [[existing-rel-values|registry of HTML rel values]].
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Check out '''[[microformats2]]''' for current work.
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== the microformats principles ==
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{{main|principles}}
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* solve a specific problem
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* [[start-simple|start simple]]
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* [[humans-first|humans first]], machines second
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* [[dry]]
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* [[reuse]]
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* modularity / embeddability
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== quotes ==
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See [[testimonials]] and [[principles#quotes|quotes relating to the principles]].
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== current microformats ==
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See the [[Main_Page#Specifications|main page]] for a list of current microformats specifications, drafts, and discussions.
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== How microformats started ==
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What are microformats started with the following in 2005:
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=== microformats are ===
* a way of thinking about data
* a way of thinking about data
* design principles for formats
* design principles for formats
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* highly correlated with semantic XHTML, AKA the [http://www.tantek.com/presentations/2004etech/realworldsemanticspres.html real world semantics, AKA lowercase semantic web], AKA [http://www.whump.com/moreLikeThis/link/04069 lossless XHTML]
* highly correlated with semantic XHTML, AKA the [http://www.tantek.com/presentations/2004etech/realworldsemanticspres.html real world semantics, AKA lowercase semantic web], AKA [http://www.whump.com/moreLikeThis/link/04069 lossless XHTML]
* described by [http://tantek.com/log/2005/03.html#d13t1722 Tantek's recent presentation at SXSW: The Elements of Meaningful XHTML]
* described by [http://tantek.com/log/2005/03.html#d13t1722 Tantek's recent presentation at SXSW: The Elements of Meaningful XHTML]
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* a set of simple open data format standards that many (including Technorati) are actively developing and implementing for more/better structured blogging and web microcontent publishing in general.
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* a set of simple open data format standards that a diverse community of individuals and organizations are actively developing and implementing for more/better structured blogging and web microcontent publishing in general.
* [http://theryanking.com/blog/archives/2005/04/07/an-evolutionary-revolution/ "An evolutionary revolution" - Ryan King]
* [http://theryanking.com/blog/archives/2005/04/07/an-evolutionary-revolution/ "An evolutionary revolution" - Ryan King]
* all the above.
* all the above.
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microformats are not:
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=== microformats are not ===
* a new language
* a new language
* infinitely extensible and open-ended
* infinitely extensible and open-ended
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* a panacea for all taxonomies, ontologies, and other such abstractions
* a panacea for all taxonomies, ontologies, and other such abstractions
* defining the whole world, or even just boiling the ocean
* defining the whole world, or even just boiling the ocean
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* controlled by any individual or organization
* any of the above
* any of the above
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== the microformats principles ==
 
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* solve a specific problem
 
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* start as simple as possible
 
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** solve simpler problems first
 
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** make evolutionary improvements
 
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* design for humans first, machines second
 
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** be presentable ''and'' parsable
 
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** ''visible data'' is better than ''invisible metadata''
 
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** adapt to current behaviors and usage patterns, e.g. (X)HTML, blogging
 
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* reuse building blocks from widely adopted standards
 
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** [http://tantek.com/presentations/20040928sdforumws/semantic-xhtml.html semantic], [http://tantek.com/presentations/2005/03/elementsofxhtml meaningful (X)HTML]. See [[SemanticXHTMLDesignPrinciples]] for more details.
 
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** existing microformats
 
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** well established schemas from interoperable RFCs
 
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* modularity / embeddability
 
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** design to be reused and embedded inside existing formats and microformats
 
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* enable and encourage decentralized development, content, services
 
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** explicitly encourage "spirit of the Web"
 
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== microformats presentations ==
 
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* See separate [[microformats-presentations]] page.
 
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== the business case for microformats ==
 
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* [http://thecommunityengine.com/home/archives/2005/06/microformats_pr.html Microformats provide immediate search visibility]
 
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* [http://thecommunityengine.com/home/archives/2005/06/_microformats_a.html Microformats and do-it-yourself vertical search aggregation]
 
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== microformats specifications ==
 
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=== People, Companies, Organizations ===
 
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* [[hcard|hCard]]
 
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=== Calendars and Events ===
 
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* [[hcalendar|hCalendar]]
 
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=== Opinions, Ratings and Reviews ===
 
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* [[vote-links|VoteLinks]]
 
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* [[hreview|hReview]]
 
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=== Social Networks ===
 
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* [http://gmpg.org/xfn XFN - XHTML Friends Network]
 
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=== Licenses, open source, content sharing ===
 
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* rel="license" - [[rel-license|RelLicense]] - in use by:
 
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** [http://creativecommons.org/ Creative Commons]
 
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=== Tags, keywords, categories ===
 
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* rel="tag" - [[rel-tag|RelTag]] - in use by:
 
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** [http://technorati.com/ Technorati]
 
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** [http://evdb.com/ EVDB]
 
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** numerous content authoring platforms (blogging tools etc.)
 
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* [http://thecommunityengine.com/home/archives/2005/05/xfolk_entry_04.html xFolk] with specific application to distributed social bookmarking.  In use by:
 
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** [http://de.lirio.us/ de.lirio.us]
 
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** [http://blogmarks.net blogmarks]
 
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** Other implementations pending for [http://thecommunityengine.com/home/archives/2005/06/_microformats_a.html Microformats and do-it-yourself vertical search aggregation].
 
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=== Lists and Outlines ===
 
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* [[xoxo|XOXO]]
 
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** [[xoxo-sample-code|XOXO code]]
 
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=== hyperlink relationships ===
 
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** tracked by [http://technorati.com/live/votes.html Technorati Votes]
 
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** rel="nofollow" - [[rel-nofollow|relNoFollow]] - in use by:
 
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*** [http://google.com/ Google]
 
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*** [http://technorati.com/ Technorati]
 
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*** numerous content authoring platforms (blogging tools etc.)
 
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=== Foundation ===
 
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* [http://gmpg.org/xmdp XMDP - XHTML Meta Data Profiles]
 
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== microformats based specifications ==
 
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The beauty of small and simple microformats is that they can easily be reused as building blocks to for richer formats and specifications.
 
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=== Attention ===
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=== more thoughts on how microformats are different ===
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* [http://developers.technorati.com/wiki/attentionxml Attention.XML]
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There are plenty of existing formats that are ''nearly'' totally useless/ignored.
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** is built with the following microformats
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*** [[XOXO]]
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*** [http://gmpg.org/xfn XFN]
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*** [[votelinks]]
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** AttentionQuery for applications and services
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** Prototype OPML converter at http://www.technorati.com/attention.html
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== microformats experiments and first thoughts ==
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=== Reviews ===
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* [[hreview]]
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* [[reviews-formats]] - research into existing review schemas and formats to attempt to understand the common simple subset that makes sense to turn into a microformat, as well as analysis of existing review markup structures used for presentation.
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=== News Story Relationships ===
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They're not ''totally'' useless though. They're useful in that they illustrate what at least someone thought might be useful, which unfortunately is typically a lone-inventor working a-priori without any domain expertise.
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* [http://holovaty.com/blog/archive/2005/03/18/0033 Online news relationships]
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=== Podcasts ===
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Or there is the other extreme. Lots of corporate inventors working with plenty of experience, over-designing a format for what ''might'' be needed some day.  In particularly bad cases, the corporate vendors collude to prevent openness and/or adoptability by the open source community.  Media standards [http://dannyayers.com/archives/2005/09/24/qotd-23/ often suffer from this kind of deliberate "strategic" positioning].
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* [[podcast-metadata]] - A standard for using HTML to markup podcast "show notes" blog posts with machine usable metadata
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=== Robots Exclusion ===
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We seek to combat all of those problems with the microformat approach.
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* [[robots-exclusion]]
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* introduction in [http://peterjanes.ca/blog/archives/2004/08/24/xmdp-style-robot-profile XMDP-style Robot Profile]
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** [http://peterjanes.ca/blog/archives/2005/04/07/robot-blocking-microformat updated post]
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=== Exams and certification ===
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* We're not lone-inventors; we're a [http://microformats.org/discuss/ community].
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* [[examl]]
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* We don't work [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_priori a-priori] ("from reason alone"); we require documentation of existing examples, previous attempts at formats. See [[process]].
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* When lacking domain expertise, we seek out the domain experts to provide it, and we immerse ourselves in examples and prior art from the domain (see previous point).
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* We do our work in the [[Main_Page|open]] with [http://microformats.org/discuss/ open discussion forums].
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* We're a diverse mix of corporate, independent, hobbyist, enthusiast.
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* We don't over-design.  We under-design, deliberately, and then only add things when they are absolutely necessary.
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* We adopt very liberal copyright/licensing (<span class="vevent"><span class="summary">public domain - [http://microformats.org/blog/2007/12/29/making-open-standards-as-open-as-possible/ required as of <span class="dtstart">2007-12-29</span> for microformats wiki contributions]</span></span>,[[creative-commons|CC]],[[gmpg|GMPG]],[[ietf|IETF]],[[w3c|W3C]]) and patent positions (<abbr title="royalty free">RF</abbr>,[[ietf|IETF]],[[w3c|W3C]]).
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* We ruthlessly self-criticize based on our [[principles]] in order to keep to the above.
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=== Job postings ===
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Some ask what the purpose of the (intended) standards is.
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* [http://www.buzzmachine.com/archives/2005_04_12.html#009446 Jeff Jarvis - The future of classifieds] outlines the coming demand for a distributed job posting microformat.
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=== Hymns ===
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Why do you need purpose? More often than not, premature focus on purpose tends to distort data formats towards a particular application which may not be all that relevant. Hence rather than focus on a-priori purpose, we focus on modelling existing behavior, with the knowledge that additional structure will yield plenty of interesting uses, most of which we will not be able to a-priori predict.
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* [http://42.blogs.warnock.me.uk/2005/04/open_formats_fo.html Open Formats for Services: Hymns]
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=== Comments ===
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This is obviously a very different approach than traditional data format efforts.
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* [http://an9.org/devdev/mfComment An idea for structuring blog comments]
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=== WikiFormats ===
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Positive with iteration rather than negative with inaction.
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* [http://communitywiki.org/WikiFormats WikiFormats] - making formats out of materials common to most all wiki: bold, italic, links, and maybe lists.
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== Discussion ==
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Microformats tend to take a positive attitude of developing and using the best techniques we can come up with (and iterating upon them), rather than banning or blocking techniques for reasons of fear or cost and thus resulting in inaction. To scrap something, there must be a better alternative provided which addresses the same problem(s) at least as well, with lower costs.
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* See [http://www.technorati.com/cosmos/referer.html blogs discussing this page].
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* Interesting [http://microformats.org/wiki/A_New_Kind_of_Science parallels between microformats and NKS principles].
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Current revision

Contents

What are microformats?

microformats are the simplest way to openly publish contacts, events, reviews, recipes, and other structured information on the web.

microformats.org maintains the official registry of HTML rel values.

Check out microformats2 for current work.

the microformats principles

Main article: principles

quotes

See testimonials and quotes relating to the principles.

current microformats

See the main page for a list of current microformats specifications, drafts, and discussions.

How microformats started

What are microformats started with the following in 2005:

microformats are

microformats are not

more thoughts on how microformats are different

There are plenty of existing formats that are nearly totally useless/ignored.

They're not totally useless though. They're useful in that they illustrate what at least someone thought might be useful, which unfortunately is typically a lone-inventor working a-priori without any domain expertise.

Or there is the other extreme. Lots of corporate inventors working with plenty of experience, over-designing a format for what might be needed some day. In particularly bad cases, the corporate vendors collude to prevent openness and/or adoptability by the open source community. Media standards often suffer from this kind of deliberate "strategic" positioning.

We seek to combat all of those problems with the microformat approach.

Some ask what the purpose of the (intended) standards is.

Why do you need purpose? More often than not, premature focus on purpose tends to distort data formats towards a particular application which may not be all that relevant. Hence rather than focus on a-priori purpose, we focus on modelling existing behavior, with the knowledge that additional structure will yield plenty of interesting uses, most of which we will not be able to a-priori predict.

This is obviously a very different approach than traditional data format efforts.

Positive with iteration rather than negative with inaction.

Microformats tend to take a positive attitude of developing and using the best techniques we can come up with (and iterating upon them), rather than banning or blocking techniques for reasons of fear or cost and thus resulting in inaction. To scrap something, there must be a better alternative provided which addresses the same problem(s) at least as well, with lower costs.

microformats was last modified: Friday, May 10th, 2013

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