[microformats-discuss] RFC: Thoughts on Video and Audio Microformats

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar drernie at opendarwin.org
Tue Oct 18 03:51:11 PDT 2005

Hi Charles,

On Oct 17, 2005, at 7:32 PM, Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:

You make some excellent points, but I think there's at least one  
point you are missing:

> But, if I just don't "get it".  And am missing something about
> Microformats, please let me know.

To start with, i commend you on your willingess to learn.  That's the  
key success factor around here. :-)

> The "class" attribute and the "title" attribute imply absolutely no
> semantics (as far as I know).

Um, not quite.  Let me try to explain, though Tantek or Ryan could  
probably do better.  First of all, you *are* correct in that the  
preferred method is to reuse *existing* HTML semantics; the URN trick  
is rather clever, I must admit.

However, there's a deeper design principle at stake: human- 
readability.   The one concern I have with URNs -- even more than the  
fact that they are deprecated -- is that they are pretty much opaque,  
and somewhat confusing.

To better match how humans handle HTML, we leverage CSS class name,  
as seen in hCalendar and hCard:


To be sure, there is some risk:
> And there could be systems (either now
> or in the future) that transform HTML that break Microformats because
> they relied on the "class" or "title" attributes.

However, here's the point I think you are missing.   The underlying  
premise of microformat as class names is that they *naturally*  
reflect the underlying semantics.  Hence the concept 'semantic salt'  
-- bringing out that which is latent.   If those class names do in  
fact reflect what the designer  *means* by the use of those elements,  
   i) this is in fact the optimal way to identify those styles
   ii) any transformation that obliterates that metadata will  
(inevitably) lose information

That isn't to say that my proposal is perfect -- it's a very crude  
first approximation.  However, I hope this at least gives you a bit  
more clue about the parameter space we're trying to explore, and our  
criteria for success.

Again, thanks again for your thoughtful post and your willingness to  

- Ernie P.

Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D. <drernie at opendarwin.org>
Ex-Physicist, Marketing Weenie, and Dilettante Hacker
Probe-Hacker blog: http://www.opendarwin.org/~drernie/

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