[microformats-discuss] Re: Educationg Others

Ryan King ryan at technorati.com
Mon Oct 3 10:51:23 PDT 2005

On Oct 3, 2005, at 12:58 AM, Scott Anderson wrote:

> Tantek wrote:
>> There's basically a set of "XML zealots" that actively dislike
>> semantic (X)HTML, I'm not sure how else to put it.
> I might be one of those individuals that you are calling an XML
> zealot. I like the idea of semantic markup in XHTML but it is not
> clear to me as to what (or which) problems you are trying to solve
> with microformats.

Problems which involve the distributed publishing and consumption of  

(purposely vague, we'll know the limits when we hit them)

> What type of applications and/or services do you
> envision consuming these data structures? XHTML is a presentation
> format so my inclination is to think that microformats will be
> relegated to the domain of JavaScript.

I beg to differ. XHTML is a structured document format. The fact that  
browsers have default renderings for it is a wonderrul convenience,  
but by no means necessary for the documents to be used.

> I am looking for format definitions that are not tied to the
> presentation layer

But XHTML doesn't have to be a presentation layer. You can just as  
easily view it as another model layer, (with CSS and Javascript being  
the presentation and control, respecitively).

> so that I can effectively reuse them in the other
> layers of my web application as well as within XML content
> repositories, various XML descriptors, SOAP messages, Atom feeds, etc.
> My XHTML will not be hand generated. However, it will be generated by
> end users (designers and content providers) that know nothing of
> markup languages or semantics.
> I have not been able to determine if my requirements are outside the
> scope of what you are trying to accomplish. On the Wiki there is a
> "precise" definition of microformats that includes plain XML and Atom
> as containers so I was thinking that I am in the right place. However,
> your about page mentions that microformats are "highly correlated with
> semantic XHTML".

Right. Plain XML and Atom can carry XHTML as their payload.

> Then there is this recent statement...
>> Not everyone has figured out that "plain" XML has failed (with the
>> exceptions of RSS and XHTML) on the Web, and thus on its way down  
>> and out as
>> something that is seriously considered, expect to see more and more
>> desperate "last ditch" efforts to promote it like this article,  
>> and in fact,
>> there will always be a few individuals pushing it.
> This sort of arrogant ignorance is probably why us zealots have
> difficulty taking your vision seriously.

I wouldn't call Tantek ignorant. XML has largely failed *on the web.*

>> For these folks, I've learned that the only way to convince them  
>> is to go
>> off and succeed with real working examples, rather than to try to  
>> spend time
>> educating them.
> A specification of an example application or service will suffice for
> me. I can extrapolate the rest. All I see on the site and wiki is
> rhetoric and hyperbole. If microformats is limited to structured
> blogging then you have already lost me. In my opinion "Web
> microcontent publishing in general" is a pretty useless definition.

I can sketch out an application for you, if you like, but building  
applications has, so far, not been our focus around here. Mostly,  
though, microformats can be seen as a way to enhance current  
applications- this is esp. true, since we try to model the  
development of microformats around current behavior.

>> They don't *want* to be educated.  Heck, they don't think
>> they *need* to be educated, they think they are already experts on  
>> semantic
>> markup (never mind that typically none of their web pages are valid).
> I think it is more likely that you have failed in your attempts to
> educate others about what you are trying to achieve.

If you have questions about microformats, feel free to ask.

>> I've just decided that my own time is better spent making
>> microformats succeed rather than fighting/arguing/educating XML  
>> zealots.
> What is your criteria for determining when you have made  
> microformats a success?

When people adopt them (and it only takes them 45 mins to implement  
them across their entire site).


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