[microformats-discuss] FYI: two posting about the Semantic Web, the "SynWeb", scraping and microformats

David Janes -- BlogMatrix davidjanes at blogmatrix.com
Tue Oct 25 04:26:13 PDT 2005

Danny Ayers wrote:
> On 10/25/05, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
>>Humans don't use URIs as keys.
> Except when they use the Web.

+1 :-)

>>Now, sometimes you do want to help the computers a bit, so that you can do
>>slightly more with it. That's where microformats like hCard and hCalendar
>>come in; they let you take data from well-known data formats (vCard and
>>iCalendar here) and publish that data directly in HTML in a way that can
>>be treated both as simple HTML, and as their original format (via a simple
>>reverse format translation) -- the latter of which lets you stick the data
>>straight into existing systems like your address book or calendar program.
>>But you don't need to go any further than that, IMHO. And certainly humans
>>don't want to go any further than that.
> Ok, here's the difference of opinion, or ambitions or whatever. As a
> human user of the Web, I'm fed up with having to use a myriad of
> different applications with limited interoperability between them. As
> you say, sometimes it does make sense to help the computer a bit. I
> personally think that the easiest way of doing that is to build on Web
> components - by which I mean primarily the naming scheme, URIs.

I think that there has to be more to this microformats than simply 
displaying structured data on a webpage for use in and only by itself, 
without the context and usefulness of the entire Internet around it. The 
web was always about linking and the web2.0 [1] theoretically is about 
sharing and remixing. They key to doing this being able to name objects 
on the Internet and of course that's URIs (or as Tantek would point out, 
URLs in practice).

We're early in the application phase of microformats (no really, we are) 
  and so the implications of this are not entirely obvious, but they 
will be. For example, the Microformats Weblog [2] is filled with 
multiple _copies_ of hCards, and fairly half-assed ones at that [3]. But 
why copy? What happened to DRY [4]?

As we become more comfortable of thinking about microformat data as 
being namable objects on the locations, we can -- equally or more 
powerfully to anything we're doing now -- start remixing and pointing 
around and avoid the copying. We can say "my train is 227 at leaves at 
8:45 AM" [5] or "here's my vcard" [6].

So, anyway, to sum up, aahhh ..., love your URIs.

[ I think I just took this discussion in another direction ]

Regards, etc...

[1] http://bubble20.blogspot.com/2005/10/bubble-2_11.html
[2] http://microformats.org/
[3] *ahem*

FN:Ryan King

[4] http://c2.com/cgi-bin/wiki?DontRepeatYourself
[5] http://caltrain.com/timetable_effective_10_10_05.html#T227A0845 -- 
for example
[6] http://theryanking.com/blog/contact/#vcard -- for example, though 
Ryan doesn't 'id' the microformat. Here's the card:

TEL;TYPE=CELL:415 260 1398
EMAIL;TYPE=INTERNET:ryan at theryanking.com

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