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= What are microformats? =
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{{DISPLAYTITLE:What are microformats?}}
 +
 
 +
Microformats are small patterns of HTML to represent commonly published things like [[hcard|people]], [[hcalendar|events]], [[hatom|blog posts]], [[hreview|reviews]] and [[rel-tag|tags]] in web pages.
 +
 
 +
Microformats are the quickest &amp; simplest way to provide an API to the  information on your website. See what else [[what-can-you-do-with-microformats|you can do with microformats]].
 +
 
 +
First time visitors, see also the [[introduction]] page.
  
 
== Launch Definition ==
 
== Launch Definition ==
 +
The original definition on the [http://microformats.org home page] said:
  
The current definition on the [http://microformats.org home page] says:
+
<blockquote style="font-size:larger">Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.</blockquote>
 
 
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic">Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.</blockquote>
 
  
 
originally written by Dan Cederholm with help from Tantek Çelik for the launch of [http://microformats.org microformats.org] on June 20th, 2005.
 
originally written by Dan Cederholm with help from Tantek Çelik for the launch of [http://microformats.org microformats.org] on June 20th, 2005.
  
 
== From The Mailing List ==
 
== From The Mailing List ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger">Microformats are simple conventions for embedding semantics in HTML to enable decentralized development.</blockquote>
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic">Microformats are simple conventions for embedding semantics in HTML to enable decentralized development.</blockquote>
+
from someone on the microformats-discuss mailing list. Please link/cite if you know the origin of this.
  
from someone on the microformats-discuss mailing list. Please link/cite if you know the origin of this.
+
* Mostly seems to originate from [http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2005-September/000923.html Dr Ernie Prabhakar] but with [http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2005-September/date.html#923 some later development].
  
 
== More Specifically From The Mailing List ==
 
== More Specifically From The Mailing List ==
 +
One popular definition from our [http://microformats.org/discuss/ mailing list] (see also: [[mailing-lists]]) is "simple conventions for embedding semantics in HTML to enable decentralized development." More precisely, microformats can be defined as:
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger" cite="http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2005-September/000922.html">
 +
:simple conventions
 +
:for embedding semantic markup
 +
::for a specific problem domain
 +
:in human-readable (X)HTML/XML documents, Atom/RSS feeds, and "plain" XML
 +
::that normalize existing content usage patterns
 +
::using brief, descriptive class names
 +
::often based on existing interoperable standards
 +
:to enable decentralized development
 +
::of resources, tools, and services
 +
</blockquote>
  
More precisely, microformats can be
+
http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2005-September/000922.html by Dr. [http://ihack.us/ Ernie Prabhakar]
defined as:
 
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic">
+
"Or do you just use your browser to browse? That's so 20th century." -- [http://diveintomark.org Mark Pilgrim]
<pre>
 
  simple conventions
 
  for embedding semantic markup
 
  
      for a specific problem domain
+
== Chris Messina ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger">
 +
Microformats are simple codes that you can use to identify specific kinds of data, like people or events, in your webpages.
 +
</blockquote>
  
  in human-readable (X)HTML/XML documents, Atom/RSS feeds, and "plain" XML
+
== Tantek Çelik ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger"><p>Microformats are the way to publish and share information on <strong>the web with higher fidelity</strong>.</p><p>For example, if a company wanted their <strong>contact information</strong> to be easily found and shared, they would publish it with [[hcard|hCard]]. Similarly if an organization is planning a series of events and wants more people to know about them and add them to their calendars, then they would publish their <strong>events listing</strong> with [[hcalendar|hCalendar]].  For advocacy groups, whenever they take a position on some political leader, some piece of legislation etc., if they wanted their <strong>evaluations/reviews/ratings</strong> of those people/laws to be more easily found and passed around, they would publish such opinions with [[hreview|hReview]].  For all of these, to make it easier, publishers can use [[implementations|tools and services that support microformats]].</p><p>The key here is that microformats are simple/easy enough that the any organizations own <strong>web authors/designers can easily add them</strong> in themselves. Adding microformats is easier than publishing an RSS feed for example. You don't have to be a programmer. Anyone with decent (X)HTML+CSS authoring/writing skills can use microformats.  Pretty much anyone who is literate can be taught how to author HTML+CSS, and thus microformats makes use of very widely available skill sets.</p></blockquote>
  
      that normalize existing content usage patterns
+
From an IRC conversation 2006-06-06 which helped "knowprose" grok microformats.  Update 2006-06-07: knowprose's blog post [http://www.knowprose.com/node/15844 Making Sense of Microformats: Have Data, Will Find It].
      using brief, descriptive class names
 
      often based on existing interoperable standards
 
  
  to enable decentralized development
 
  
      of resources, tools, and services
+
<blockquote style="font-size:larger"><p>microformats are carefully designed (X)HTML class names that extend the semantics of (X)HTML and enable authors to publish higher semantic fidelity content such as people, events, reviews, etc.</p></blockquote>
</pre>
+
 
</blockquote>
+
From an IRC conversation 2006-07-28 with tcaspers on irc.freenode.net/#wasp.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger"><p>a microformat is way of adding more meaning to web pages beyond normal HTML headings and paragraphs, so you can indicate mentions of people, companies, events, reviews, tags, etc.</p></blockquote>
 +
 
 +
From an instant message conversation 2007-07-06.
 +
 
 +
== Drew McLellan ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger">Microformats are a way of attaching extra meaning to the information published on a web page. This extra semantic richness works alongside the information already presented, and can be used for the benefit of people and computers. This is mostly done through adding special pre-defined names to the class attribute of existing XHTML markup.</blockquote>
  
from someone(s) on the microformats-discuss mailing list.  Please link/cite if you know the origin of this.
+
from an IRC conversation
  
(I'm pretty sure Ernie kicked off this particular definition, and I think helped a little, but I don't remember the specifics. -Tantek)
+
== Aaron Gustafson ==
 +
Simply put: "Microformats are a codification of convention." -- [http://easy-reader.net Aaron Gustafson]
  
  
== Chris Messina ==
+
==Alok Jain==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger">microformats are evolving frameworks for how to present commonly used data items. For e.g. hCard microformat provides  framework to capture a person's details First, middle, last name,company, contact info etc.</blockquote>
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic">
+
In my view this is doing two things:
Microformats are simple codes that you can use to identify specific kinds of data, like people or events, in your webpages.
+
*a Bringing some amount of standardization to commonly used data sets, which can lead to several benefits towards data retreival
</blockquote>
+
*a Bringing an implicit meta data structure which again can be used to fetch informaiton at more granular level. SO in above example one could fetch just the company name, even thought there is not meta data around company name
  
 +
[http://www.iPrincipia.com Alok Jain]
  
== Tantek Çelik ==
+
== Dave Sanford ==
 +
Chris asked me to contribute my 'definition,' although I refer to it as a distillation:
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic"><p>Microformats are the way to publish and share information on <strong>the web with higher fidelity</strong>.</p><p>For example, if a company wanted their <strong>contact information</strong> to be easily found and shared, they would publish it with [[hcard|hCard]]. Similarly if an organization is planning a series of events and wants more people to know about them and add them to their calendars, then they would publish their <strong>events listing</strong> with [[hcalendar|hCalendar]].  For advocacy groups, whenever they take a position on some political leader, some piece of legislation etc., if they wanted their <strong>evaluations/reviews/ratings</strong> of those people/laws to be more easily found and passed around, they would publish such opinions with [[hreview|hReview]].  For all of these, to make it easier, publishers can use [[implementations|tools and services that support microformats]].</p><p>The key here is that microformats are simple/easy enough that the any organizations own <strong>web authors/designers can easily add them</strong> in themselves. Adding microformats is easier than publishing an RSS feed for example. You don't have to be a programmer. Anyone with decent (X)HTML+CSS authoring/writing skills can use microformats.  Pretty much anyone who is literate can be taught how to author HTML+CSS, and thus microformats makes use of very widely available skill sets.</p></blockquote>
+
“Microformats are a way of identifying and labeling classes of commonly used data that make it easier for humans or computers to locate or distribute such information on websites.
  
From an IRC conversation 2006-06-06 which helped "knowprose" grok microformats.  Update 2006-06-07: knowprose's blog post [http://www.knowprose.com/node/15844 Making Sense of Microformats: Have Data, Will Find It].
+
==Andy Mabbett==
 +
Here's my re-write of the current opening blurb, from:
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic"><p>microformats are carefully designed (X)HTML class names that extend the semantics of (X)HTML and enable authors to publish higher semantic fidelity content such as people, events, reviews, etc.</p></blockquote>
+
<blockquote style="font-size:larger">Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.</blockquote>
  
From an IRC conversation 2006-07-28 with tcaspers on irc.freenode.net/#wasp.
+
to:
  
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">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.</blockquote>
  
== Drew McLellan ==
+
Which can be followed by:
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic">Microformats are a way of attaching extra meaning to the information published on a web page. This extra semantic richness works alongside the information already presented, and can be used for the benefit of people and computers. This is mostly done through adding special pre-defined names to the class attribute of existing XHTML markup.</blockquote>
+
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">More technically, they are items of semantic markup, using just standard (X)HTML with a set of common class-names. They are open and available, freely, for anyone to use.</blockquote>
  
from an IRC conversation
+
Principles:
 +
*Start with "Microformats are"
 +
*Mention web pages
 +
*Say what purpose microformats serve
 +
*Use plain language
  
== Joe Andrieu ==
+
== Guillaume Lebleu ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger">Microformats are simple standardized annotations of content available on the Web that provide a practical solution today to more productive and decentralized Web-based information search and sharing. </blockquote>
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic"><p>Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon (X)HTML and CSS.</p>
+
<blockquote style="font-size:larger">In other words, Microformats allow you today to copy/paste information from a Web page, for instance someone's contact information from their blog to your address book, instead of manually retyping it. Eventually, microformats will allow anyone to make the information they publish easily sharable and searchable (products, events, resume, etc.) without having to duplicate and maintain up-to-date their data in centralized databases.</blockquote>
  
<p>The current blurb leaves me wondering "But <strong>what</strong> are they?".  I remember this feeling from the first time reading through the microformats wiki. The [http://microformats.org/about/ about page] goes on from the opening blurb to state what microformats are, what microformats are not, and the microformats principles.</p>
+
== BenWest ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">
 +
A microformat is a specific collection of names, values, and accompanying structure defined through rigorous market research intended to consider pervasive use of semantic html that increases data fidelity in HTML-borne data widely distributed on the web.
  
<p>All great descriptions... Yet still leaving me wondering the most basic level of concreteness: <strong>What are they?</strong> Javascript libraries? An XML vocabulary? PHP tools?  The most specific language is "data format standard." Is that like HTML?  Is it just an RFC for the next web thing? </p>
+
Microformats are more than one of these, eg "hcard and hcal are microformats."
 +
</blockquote>
  
<p>Of course, I know the answers to all of these things, now.  But it took me a while to get there.</p>
+
== DerrickPallas ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">microformats are semantics with momentum, a codification of what everyone did anyway. They are what works, written down.</blockquote>
  
<p>This suggestion attempts to concretize the "existing and widely adopted standards". It's a bit shorter and to my eye a bit clearer and more powerful.</p>
+
== Alessandro Martin ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">
 +
Microformats are frames for your contents. Using microformats you tell, in a way both humans and machines can understand, what is the basic meaning of what you are writing in a web document.
 
</blockquote>
 
</blockquote>
  
== From The Wiki ==
+
written by [http://www.thinkpragmatic.net Alessandro Martin].
  
There are unsettling faults with the definitions and explanations given. The writing seems to be a rallying cry for proponents - clever wording, impressive noun-phrases. But it explains nothing to those unfamiliar with microformats. Imagine giving this sort of explanation off-paper: "A Microformat? What do you mean?" one asks. "Well," the other replies, as he jumps onto the nearest table, his voice excited and booming, a crowd gathering around him:
+
== Alan Hogan ==
 +
<blockquote>
 +
<p style="font-size:larger;">Microformats are a guarantee that anyone who wants to can grab certain types of data from your website without worrying much that a site redesign will require the to build a whole new parser.</p>
  
<blockquote style="font-style:italic">
+
<p style="font-size:larger;">Microformats is to people and comptuers what Java is to operating systems.  Java programs are written once and run on Mac, Windows, Linux, Solaris, etc. Microformats-enabled web pages are written once and are understandable by both humans and computers.</p>
Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns (e.g. XHTML, blogging). [...]
 
 
</blockquote>
 
</blockquote>
  
Ah, I see now. So it's something for people to use. Something simple and intuitive, like a steering wheel. Something open, easily changed by anyone, like a wiki or linux. A data format, like rtf, xml, or pdf. It obeys unspecified standards, but is so much more! It's based on something that already works. It doesn't attempt to solve anything it doesn't need to. It dynamically changes to comply with how I'm behaving at the moment... Yes. Yes! This is what I need! My living text streaming-based DOM machine/user -interface will never be the same, now that I have Microformats! Er... right?
+
written by [http://alanhogan.com/ Alan Hogan].
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic">
+
==Hugh Macleod==
Microformats are conventions for marking up commonly-encountered data (such as links, contact information, and calendar events) in established languages such as HTML. By using standardized layouts, CSS classes, and attribute values, information becomes more accessible and useful to both humans and computers.
+
 
 +
[http://flickr.com/photos/tantek/1385900792 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1276/1385900792_0769162b18.jpg]
 +
 
 +
2007 September by [http://gapingvoid.com Hugh Macleod].
 +
 
 +
== Toby Inkster ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">You know all that stuff you already have on your website? Microformats tell computers what that stuff is.
 
</blockquote>
 
</blockquote>
  
I would appreciate if someone would copy this to the mailing list, since I don't wish to sign up, but would like this to be remedied. [[User:M|M]] 23:52, 23 Aug 2006 (PDT)
+
== Asa Berdahl ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">microformats are a set of rules that utilize present technology to make it not only more easily interactive, but human-friendly as well. microformats uses long standing practices of good web design techniques combined with simple changes in coding to make content far more than just plain text.</blockquote>
  
== Add Yours Here ==
+
written by Asa Berdahl.
  
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;font-style:italic">microformats are...</blockquote>
+
== Yuval Ararat ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">Microformats are the incarnation of Semantic Web in the XHTML standard, they make text surrounded by markup relevant to its meaning and not its markup. The standardization effort that is collected here is the embodiment of the new Web 3.0.</blockquote>
  
written by You.
+
written by Yuval Ararat.
 +
 
 +
== Sugandh Sarkar ==
 +
<blockquote style="font-size:larger;">Microformats are helpful in creating rich snippets for websites, by virtue of this search engines can pull reviews and also people's data enabling readers to see useful information.
 +
</blockquote>
 +
 
 +
[http://www.binaryoptiondemoaccounts.com Sugandh Sarkar]
  
 
== See Also ==
 
== See Also ==
 
 
* [[what-can-you-do-with-microformats]]
 
* [[what-can-you-do-with-microformats]]
 
* [[faq]]
 
* [[faq]]
 +
* [[definition-feedback]]
  
 
== Translation ==
 
== Translation ==
 
* [[what-are-microformats-fr|c'est quoi les microformats]] (fr)
 
* [[what-are-microformats-fr|c'est quoi les microformats]] (fr)

Latest revision as of 16:35, 18 July 2020


Microformats are small patterns of HTML to represent commonly published things like people, events, blog posts, reviews and tags in web pages.

Microformats are the quickest & simplest way to provide an API to the information on your website. See what else you can do with microformats.

First time visitors, see also the Introduction to Microformats page.

Launch Definition

The original definition on the home page said:

Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.

originally written by Dan Cederholm with help from Tantek Çelik for the launch of microformats.org on June 20th, 2005.

From The Mailing List

Microformats are simple conventions for embedding semantics in HTML to enable decentralized development.

from someone on the microformats-discuss mailing list. Please link/cite if you know the origin of this.

More Specifically From The Mailing List

One popular definition from our mailing list (see also: Mailing Lists) is "simple conventions for embedding semantics in HTML to enable decentralized development." More precisely, microformats can be defined as:

simple conventions
for embedding semantic markup
for a specific problem domain
in human-readable (X)HTML/XML documents, Atom/RSS feeds, and "plain" XML
that normalize existing content usage patterns
using brief, descriptive class names
often based on existing interoperable standards
to enable decentralized development
of resources, tools, and services

http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2005-September/000922.html by Dr. Ernie Prabhakar

"Or do you just use your browser to browse? That's so 20th century." -- Mark Pilgrim

Chris Messina

Microformats are simple codes that you can use to identify specific kinds of data, like people or events, in your webpages.

Tantek Çelik

Microformats are the way to publish and share information on the web with higher fidelity.

For example, if a company wanted their contact information to be easily found and shared, they would publish it with hCard. Similarly if an organization is planning a series of events and wants more people to know about them and add them to their calendars, then they would publish their events listing with hCalendar. For advocacy groups, whenever they take a position on some political leader, some piece of legislation etc., if they wanted their evaluations/reviews/ratings of those people/laws to be more easily found and passed around, they would publish such opinions with hReview. For all of these, to make it easier, publishers can use tools and services that support microformats.

The key here is that microformats are simple/easy enough that the any organizations own web authors/designers can easily add them in themselves. Adding microformats is easier than publishing an RSS feed for example. You don't have to be a programmer. Anyone with decent (X)HTML+CSS authoring/writing skills can use microformats. Pretty much anyone who is literate can be taught how to author HTML+CSS, and thus microformats makes use of very widely available skill sets.

From an IRC conversation 2006-06-06 which helped "knowprose" grok microformats. Update 2006-06-07: knowprose's blog post Making Sense of Microformats: Have Data, Will Find It.


microformats are carefully designed (X)HTML class names that extend the semantics of (X)HTML and enable authors to publish higher semantic fidelity content such as people, events, reviews, etc.

From an IRC conversation 2006-07-28 with tcaspers on irc.freenode.net/#wasp.


a microformat is way of adding more meaning to web pages beyond normal HTML headings and paragraphs, so you can indicate mentions of people, companies, events, reviews, tags, etc.

From an instant message conversation 2007-07-06.

Drew McLellan

Microformats are a way of attaching extra meaning to the information published on a web page. This extra semantic richness works alongside the information already presented, and can be used for the benefit of people and computers. This is mostly done through adding special pre-defined names to the class attribute of existing XHTML markup.

from an IRC conversation

Aaron Gustafson

Simply put: "Microformats are a codification of convention." -- Aaron Gustafson


Alok Jain

microformats are evolving frameworks for how to present commonly used data items. For e.g. hCard microformat provides framework to capture a person's details First, middle, last name,company, contact info etc.

In my view this is doing two things:

  • a Bringing some amount of standardization to commonly used data sets, which can lead to several benefits towards data retreival
  • a Bringing an implicit meta data structure which again can be used to fetch informaiton at more granular level. SO in above example one could fetch just the company name, even thought there is not meta data around company name

Alok Jain

Dave Sanford

Chris asked me to contribute my 'definition,' although I refer to it as a distillation:

“Microformats are a way of identifying and labeling classes of commonly used data that make it easier for humans or computers to locate or distribute such information on websites.”

Andy Mabbett

Here's my re-write of the current opening blurb, from:

Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.

to:

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.

Which can be followed by:

More technically, they are items of semantic markup, using just standard (X)HTML with a set of common class-names. They are open and available, freely, for anyone to use.

Principles:

  • Start with "Microformats are"
  • Mention web pages
  • Say what purpose microformats serve
  • Use plain language

Guillaume Lebleu

Microformats are simple standardized annotations of content available on the Web that provide a practical solution today to more productive and decentralized Web-based information search and sharing.

In other words, Microformats allow you today to copy/paste information from a Web page, for instance someone's contact information from their blog to your address book, instead of manually retyping it. Eventually, microformats will allow anyone to make the information they publish easily sharable and searchable (products, events, resume, etc.) without having to duplicate and maintain up-to-date their data in centralized databases.

BenWest

A microformat is a specific collection of names, values, and accompanying structure defined through rigorous market research intended to consider pervasive use of semantic html that increases data fidelity in HTML-borne data widely distributed on the web.

Microformats are more than one of these, eg "hcard and hcal are microformats."

DerrickPallas

microformats are semantics with momentum, a codification of what everyone did anyway. They are what works, written down.

Alessandro Martin

Microformats are frames for your contents. Using microformats you tell, in a way both humans and machines can understand, what is the basic meaning of what you are writing in a web document.

written by Alessandro Martin.

Alan Hogan

Microformats are a guarantee that anyone who wants to can grab certain types of data from your website without worrying much that a site redesign will require the to build a whole new parser.

Microformats is to people and comptuers what Java is to operating systems. Java programs are written once and run on Mac, Windows, Linux, Solaris, etc. Microformats-enabled web pages are written once and are understandable by both humans and computers.

written by Alan Hogan.

Hugh Macleod

1385900792_0769162b18.jpg

2007 September by Hugh Macleod.

Toby Inkster

You know all that stuff you already have on your website? Microformats tell computers what that stuff is.

Asa Berdahl

microformats are a set of rules that utilize present technology to make it not only more easily interactive, but human-friendly as well. microformats uses long standing practices of good web design techniques combined with simple changes in coding to make content far more than just plain text.

written by Asa Berdahl.

Yuval Ararat

Microformats are the incarnation of Semantic Web in the XHTML standard, they make text surrounded by markup relevant to its meaning and not its markup. The standardization effort that is collected here is the embodiment of the new Web 3.0.

written by Yuval Ararat.

Sugandh Sarkar

Microformats are helpful in creating rich snippets for websites, by virtue of this search engines can pull reviews and also people's data enabling readers to see useful information.

Sugandh Sarkar

See Also

Translation