[uf-discuss] Microformats: for hand-authoring or aggregating purpose?

Phillip Pearson pp at myelin.co.nz
Tue Dec 13 17:28:09 PST 2005

toydi wrote:

>A question ran into my mind when i was using hCalendar-o-matic to
>build my first hEvent microformats several weeks ago. From an
>author/user perspective, would you prefer to create a micro-content by
>hand-author, or use a helper form (e.g h*-o-matic) to help you build
>it? I'm really curious to know how actually authors out there write
>microformats, do share some of your experience with all. :-)
Microformats have the nice feature of not being significantly harder to 
hand-author than HTML links etc., so they do actually "afford" 
hand-coding.  That said, I find it more pleasant to use a WYSIWYG editor 
to enter HTML links, as long as it doesn't screw everything up :-)

>The same question strike me again as I'm thinking about submitting
>data in microformats to remote web server. As a user, let say to
>modify your birthday event data, do you prefer to update a <textarea>
>containing microformatted XHTML, or prefer to update several <input>
>textboxes and combo boxes? Which one you choose?
All other things being equal, I'd pick the inputs and combo boxes, as 
long as they supported the kind of data I wanted to publish.  That way I 
only need to spell everything right once to get consistently good output.

It all depends on how consistent my output would be.  For example, when 
reviewing cafes on coffee.gen.nz, I always want the same fields, and I 
want each review to look pretty much the same as the rest.  So in that 
case, I use the input form, which also gives me the convenience of 
having the fields stored in separate columns in the database.  However, 
if I was writing a freeform web page with reviews embedded in arbitrary 
places, I'd have to resort to hand-coding.

>OTOH, more people start to write scripts to collect microformatted
>contents from web sites. It seems like in nature, microformats has
>been used for aggregating purpose. We publish microformatted contents,
>so that others will be able to aggregate those contents easier.
>These lead me to the question: microformats makes us easy to
>hand-author data or aggregate data? What's your opinion? ;-)
I'd say that microformats make it much easier to hand-author than 
aggregate.  They are marginally easier to parse than RDF, but still way 
harder than plain-XML formats like RSS or the Structured Blogging 
plugin's internal format.  However, the incremental work involved to 
move from publishing just HTML to publishing HTML+microformats is fairly 

Of course, even though they are relatively more difficult to parse, 
their ease of publication is a Good Thing for aggregators, as it should 
result in more content in the wild...

BTW, does anybody have any figures about the quantity of microformatted 
content being published on blogs?  It will be interesting to see how the 
new SB plugins will contribute to that.


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