microformats-jp

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= microformats =
 
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'''What are microformats?'''
 
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''microformats are:''
 
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* a way of thinking about data
 
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* design principles for formats
 
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* adapted to current behaviors and usage patterns ([http://ifindkarma.typepad.com/relax/2004/12/microformats.html "Pave the cow paths." - Adam Rifkin])
 
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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]
 
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* 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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* [http://theryanking.com/blog/archives/2005/04/07/an-evolutionary-revolution/ "An evolutionary revolution" - Ryan King]
 
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* all the above.
 
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''microformats are not:''
 
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* a new language
 
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* infinitely extensible and open-ended
 
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* an attempt to get everyone to change their behavior and rewrite their tools
 
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* a whole new approach that throws away what already works today
 
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* a panacea for all taxonomies, ontologies, and other such abstractions
 
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* defining the whole world, or even just boiling the ocean
 
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* 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 much better for humans than ''invisible metadata''
 
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** adapt to current behaviors and usage patterns, e.g. (X)HTML, blogging
 
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** [http://tantek.com/log/2003/0813t1158.html#handauthoring ease of authoring is important]
 
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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 and distributed development, content, services
 
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** explicitly encourage the original "spirit of the Web"
 
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== current microformats ==
 
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See the [[Main_Page|main page]] for a list of current microformats specifications, drafts, and discussions.
 
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== more thoughts on how microformats are different ==
 
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There are plenty of existing formats that are ''nearly'' totally useless/ignored.
 
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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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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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We to combat all of those problems with the microformat approach.
 
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* We're not lone-inventors; we're a [http://microformats.org/discuss/ community].
 
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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 (CC,GMPG,IETF,W3C) and patent positions (RF,IETF,W3C).
 
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* We ruthlessly self-criticize based on our [http://microformats.org/wiki/microformats#the_microformats_principles principles] in order to keep to the above.
 
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Some ask what the purpose of the (intended) standards is.
 
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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 modeling 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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This is obviously a very different approach than traditional data format efforts.
 

Revision as of 07:38, 12 July 2006

microformats-jp was last modified: Wednesday, December 31st, 1969

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