[microformats-discuss] FYI: Boyd on Microformats and Structured Blogging

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Mon Oct 10 15:58:12 PDT 2005

On 10/10/05 3:29 PM, "Stephen Downes" <stephen at downes.ca> wrote:

> David Janes -- BlogMatrix wrote:
>> Stowe Boyd of Corante just posted "Microformats v Structured Blogging:
>> A Small War With Big Consequences" [1] discussing microformats [2] and
>> structured blogging [3].

All in all a very good article.  Stowe has literally taught himself how to
code hCalendar by hand.  A testimonial by actions if I've ever seen one.

> I don't see it as a war.

Right.  There is no need to see it as a war.

However, that is an easily digestable metaphor so therefore conflicts are
often framed as such.

> I fully expect the two to be compatible and
> translatable - preferably with XSLT? I would be very disappointed if
> this proved to be impossible.

Uh, well....

That all depends on the (lowercase) schema that is used.

Microformats are based on existing interoperable standards (e.g. RFCs,
hCalendar), and well documented research (e.g. hReview).

OTOH, AFAIK, the SB schemas are pulled out of thin air, which is the classic
NIH/reinvention mistake that engineers tend to make, and I would expect them
to not necessarily translate to any pre-existing standards (since any such
pre-existing standards appear to have been ignored).

Also, hiding data in invisible script blocks violates all kind of principles
(avoid invisible metadata, dont repeat yourself, etc. etc.).

> In my view, the much more serious criticism is this:
> "My viewpoint is that it is almost impossible to disassociate the
> interests of these individuals and their respective companies from the
> discussion of the pros and cons of these approaches."

I read this as Stowe trying not show a bias towards microformats.  Because
he clearly "gets" microformats, and has already adopted hCard and hCalendar
on his own site.

The refutation of this criticism of course is that this is why we have a
(quite active) microformats.org community and have been pursuing new
standards (e.g. hReview) cooperatively with numerous vendors simultaneously
(proactively indeed), rather than going it alone (which appears to be the SB

I mean, yes, much of microformats was started by a small number of people,
many of whom work for the same company.  Most good ideas start with a small
number of (often one) people.  But whether the community grows beyond that
original small group / individual is what makes the difference.

Interest and adoption of microformats have grown quite organically, and thus
those of us working the most on microformats (across several companies) got
together and created a separate site, donated various materials, made sure
to make patent/copyright/IP stuff clear and open etc. etc.

We even have a whole process (albeit small) for cooperatively coming up with
new microformats (if they're even necessary).  All this is essential to
doing open standards in a community.

BTW, I've personally invited the SB folks (Bob in particular) to please come
join the discussions in the microformats.org community and contribute their
SB ideas to help improve microformats as a whole.  However, I have yet to
hear anything in response.

In the mean time, we, the microformats community, should just focus on doing
the right thing for the community and succeeding, with the assumption that
nothing succeeds like success. ;)



More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list