[microformats-discuss] microformats and semantic HTML best practices

Bryan J Busch bryanjbusch at gmail.com
Sun Sep 4 14:52:40 PDT 2005

Hey, everybody.

In absorbing the microformats principles
(http://microformats.org/about/), I've accepted that the invention of
a microformat first requires a specific problem to be solved. My
questions now are more along the lines of: should I be encouraging
myself to prioritize the seriousness of the problems, or even, how do
I know this is a problem at all?

For example, rel="nofollow" is a great co-combatant in the fight
against spam. The only people, I imagine, that would have argued
against its recognition by Google are the spammers, and, well, [bleep]
those guys.

But the Devil's Advocate (who is not me :) might look at the
explanation for the invention of hCard ("Bloggers can both embed
vCards directly in their web pages, and style them with CSS to make
them appear as desired. In addition, hCard enables applications to
retrieve information about such vCards directly from web pages without
having to reference a separate file"), and wonder exactly what problem
is being solved by the adoption of the -format.

It's a bonus, to be sure, to be able to automate identity information
retrieval and conversion, recognizes Mr. Devil's Advocate, but what
exactly was broken that this is fixing?

But that's just an example. The question I'm hoping to answer is
larger: can a microformat be designed and even implemented when the
ultimate outcome would be perceived, by some, as trivial?

Microformats (and I admit I never heard the word before SxSW 2005,
though I was aware of rel="nofollow" and XFN), were an attractive
concept to me more for their power in establishing a set of semantic
HTML best practices, and less for their ability to enable innovative
web applications. Granted, the two are mostly intertwined (why should
I use class="vcard"? Oh, you can do *that*? Cool!). Still, as a
non-application developer, I'd love to have a library of markup
formats (I guess these would be referred to as "design patterns"?)
available to me during my work, one that had been designed by a
community of experts, and not just what I (or even the people I work
with) thought would be good the first time I came across it.

So -- and I think I may have just answered my own question, but I'm
going to send the whole message anyway in case there are nuances still
to be discovered -- would a group of tags and classes collectively
meant to describe, say, a page containing lyrics for a specific song
be considered a "design pattern," since few people are clamoring for a
way to fix the current problem of finding lyrics online?

Or, when the time came to build the application that would index such
pages, would it necessarily be upgraded to the status of microformat,
or would it not even matter?

- Bry

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list