[uf-discuss] XFN and hCards

David Osolkowski qidydl at gmail.com
Thu Dec 22 13:58:21 PST 2005

In XFN Delusions of Grandeur[1], Jennifer Golbeck argues that XFN isn't very
useful because it annotates links between web pages, not people.  Ok, so how
do we make XFN link people?

There are two people involved, a source and a target.  To identify the
source, a page with XFN links should include an <address> element, which
identifies the author of the page.  The <address> element should contain an
hCard, which--to my knowledge--is the best method we have for representing a
person in (X)HTML.

Identifying the target is a little more complicated.  Generally, we should
check the linked page for an <address> element, and assume that linking to a
page means relating to the author of that page.  If that assumption is
incorrect, the source could link directly to an hCard (i.e.
http://www.example.com/page.html#hCard).  This requires the hCard to have an
id, which makes things a bit trickier; what should the source do if the
hCard does not have an id?  When publishing hCards, how do you know whether
they'll need ids?  Is this situation within the 80%?

Basically, I'm proposing some best practices for using XFN with hCards that
seem to improve the semantics, without needing to invent anything new.  If
we agree on these practices, they should be explained on the XFN website.

[1]: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/8281

- David Osolkowski
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