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 class-names 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
Learn more about microformats from the microformats.org
- about page,
- and more suggested reading.
- Emily Lewis's excellent series of articles:
- Sitepoint has a nice introductory tutorial:
- Premasagar has written up