minimal-vocabulary

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Revision as of 06:25, 12 June 2009 by Tantek (talk | contribs) (→‎renaming example org: added Microsoft VCARD_NAME schema as yet another unnecessary renamer from vCard)
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<entry-title>minimal vocabulary</entry-title> One aspect of the start as simple as possible microformats principles, and one of several Naming Principles.

One way of keeping a solution simple is to minimize the vocabulary that the solution uses, and certainly of those, minimize any new vocabulary that are introduced.

benefits

Minimizing the vocabulary used for properties (and values) of a microformat helps make and keep microformats easier to understand.

Minimizing the introduction of new vocabulary is particularly important. Doing so:

  • Keeps microformats as a whole easier to understand (the smaller the total vocabulary of all microformats).
  • Reduces confusion with the re-use of existing technologies.

preserve literal vocabulary when reusing meaning

When reusing the schema or meaning from an existing format, when possible re-use the respective vocabulary as well.

This is particularly important to illustrate, given how often the opposite has occurred (unnecessary renaming/tweaking/abbreviating of existing terms).

avoid renaming when reusing

The renaming of terms when reusing the semantics of an existing format happens often enough to merit labeling as an anti-pattern to be avoided.

Here are some examples:

renaming example org

On the other hand, the following apparently simple / intended to be helpful renamings have been found:

renaming example organization name

hCard 1.0 also deliberately re-uses organization-name from vCard specifications per the semantic-xhtml-design-principles.

The unfortunate "clean-up" efforts:

the Anglo centric renaming anti pattern

All of these renamings/expansions/abbreviations may seem (semi-)obvious to English-centric readers, but cause unnecessary confusion when a non-native-English developer encounters different terms that mean the same thing from vCard to these other technologies.

To a non-native-English developer, "org" and "affiliation" are two different sequences of characters, and look as different as "bet" and "nssvyvngvba" do to a non-native-ROT13 developer.

The unnecessary English renaming of English word properties from earlier standards is an Anglo-centric (specifically English-speaking designer) design mistake that needs to be more thoroughly written up as a design anti-pattern to be avoided.

For now we can refer to this problem as the "Anglo-centric renaming anti-pattern" or just "renaming anti-pattern" for short.

more examples

see also