[uf-discuss] Microformat Base

S. Sriram ssriram at gmail.com
Sat Dec 3 16:16:36 PST 2005

>From: "Craig Ogg" <craig.ogg at gmail.com>
>>On 12/1/05, Scott Reynen <scott at randomchaos.com> wrote:
>> I thought I'd go ahead and play around with a microformat-based
>> alternative to Google Base.  So far, I have a basic spider that I set
>> loose from microformats.org to slowly wander the web.  When it finds
>> any known microformat-associated class names, it records the data
>> which can then be searched here:

>This is very cool, but I don't think it is really an alternative to
>Google Base.  As has been pointed out in some of the proposals for a
>discovery format here, to have to spider a web site to discover its
>data is not very efficient or accurate.  

>I think microformats offer much more potential to aid adhoc discovery
>and use of information while you are browsing:  drag this event to my
>calendar, add this person as a contact in my address book, give me
>driving directions to this location, give this blog post proper via
>credit, etc.  Having this built-in to Firefox or Flock I think would
>be very cool.


>P.S. I realize that rel-tag is being used to aid search already -- but
>I think it is being almost exclusively consumed from RSS feeds. 
>Probably for the efficiency reasons stated above.

Well put! this is the realization that has been dawning
upon me i.e. the future format of web-data would not be
centered around  microformatted HTML but rather

the RSS item overlaid with namespace attributes 
- to use your insight -
in a sloppy user-friendly format.

And just as users 'tag' items with labels of their choice,
they would markup feed items with namespaces of their choice
and search accordingly. Consensus attributes would evolve
between peer groups and voila the future of the data-web.
(The other development that will help nail this is the
advent of SSE in OPML.)

The micro micro-format for an item that I've been talking about 
effectively remains the <item> enclosure in an rss feed.

Microformats(.org), will remain - as you point out-  the manner in
which highly specific data sets (meant for rapid user
consumption, typically in browser environments) are 
painless-ly transferred. (bookmarklets, greasemonkey, ajax, flock etc.)

To this -as you add- microformats will also assist ordinary
users to augment their input such as what rel-tag does right 
now. Loosely speaking 'linkspeak'

So microformats will be used for, 
- adding an event to my calendar
- adding a contact to my address book
- ..
- adding a 'specific dataset' to my 'client'
(stuff html-savvy programmers would undertake)
- linkspeak (rel-tag etc.)
(stuff marginally tech-savvy folk could undertake)

Searching the wild web, will not be by spiders crawling web pages and
ferreting out microformats
but rather whole-text as in current vogue and from within RSS
feeds with namespace attributes (your Open Search + google base scenario)
and 'linkspeak'

So, I'd ammend my earlier suggestion of 
-'Open Base' as a microformats response to 'google base' 
- microformats has really "no response" to google base
the vision of a semantic web, where folks post their wants
to a web page that gets spidered and searched by the world 
seems likely to fade behind the vision of a semantic
web where folks who want to share their content will do so
by exposing it in RSS feeds for searching by the world 
marked up in a babel of xml namespaces that their clients

If anything, a map between microformats and googles namespace
declarations at http://base.google.com/base/base.xsd could be

S. Sriram

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