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

Ryan King ryan at technorati.com
Tue Oct 18 10:21:25 PDT 2005

On Oct 18, 2005, at 3:51 AM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:
> Hi Charles,
> On Oct 17, 2005, at 7:32 PM, Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:


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

Using them to apply semantics is certainly allowable. Per the spec,  
they can be used "For general purpose processing by user  
class] I don't see why semantics can't be part of that processing.

> 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:
> http://microformats.org/wiki/hcalendar
> http://microformats.org/wiki/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, then:
>   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.

One aspect of microformats, which I'd like to point out here, is that  
they are adapted to current behavior. So, while URNs might be useful  
(if they were valid in HTML 4, but they're not), I think its more  
important to adapt to the emergent schema/patterns which have already  
evolved on the web (specifically in the [blog-o- | pod-o- | vlog-o-] 
sphere ;)).

And though our conversation has covered some of the theoretical  
aspects of media metadata, we don't really have any documented  
research into the common practices on the web *today*. I'd really  
like to see that and I think it could help us focus our discussion as  
we move forward.


Ryan King
ryan at technorati.com

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