[microformats-discuss] Re: Educationg Others

David Janes -- BlogMatrix davidjanes at blogmatrix.com
Mon Oct 3 14:29:42 PDT 2005

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. 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.

Answering the question "what problem is trying to be solved by 
microformats?" requires taking a step and asking "what are 
microfomats?". The website [1] provides a number of answers to this 
question, but I prefer to answer: *microformats provide a consistent 
vocabulary for expressing semantic information commonly found in HTML 
documents; they are discovered as much as they are created*.

There is no "change the world" philosophy behind microformats; they are 
layered into existing structures and behaviors of content creators. The 
gap between HTML for presentation and HTML+microformats for semantics is 
very very small; the narrowness of this gap is what will drive 
microformat adoption. We've seen this sort of thing before: it wasn't 
large leap from "CMS generates HTML" to "CMS also generates RSS"; and 
suddenly the web is connected and bound in way that was hardly imagined 
5 years ago.

The question of what type of application and/or service will use 
microformats isn't that important [IMHO, as is everything else I write]. 
Why? Because if the microformat approach to the web is as powerful as 
many of us think it is, the applications that will be using it in two, 
five or ten years time will surprise or even amaze us, just like TCP/IP, 
RFC822, HTTP+HTML and RSS did over time. Hopefully like these standards, 
there is something _elemental_ about microformats

Of course, it may not be and we'll all look back on this in a couple of 
years and grimace or laugh. But I doubt it.

> What is your criteria for determining when you have made microformats a success?


Regards, etc...
David Janes

[1] http://www.microformats.org/about/

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