[microformats-discuss] Microformats, REST, and XML

Joe Gregorio joe.gregorio at gmail.com
Mon Sep 19 12:45:01 PDT 2005

On 9/19/05, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar <drernie at opendarwin.org> wrote:
> On Sep 19, 2005, at 12:05 PM, Kevin Marks wrote:
> > Another angle on the discussions regarding XML vs XHTML, and
> > touching on REST, is the context of use.
> >
> > If you are using XML to pass data around between your own
> > applications and never touching the web, then the extra degree of
> > control gained by constructing your own arbitrary data structure in
> > XML may be worth it.
> >
> > If however, you are intending to send the data over a webserver,
> > using a REST API, then using microformats in XHTML (and in
> > particular XOXO) has many benefits:
> Fascinating.   This is one of the things I've wondered about. In a
> world where everybody "grokked" microformats, would there ever be a
> need for new (public) XML documents? Or could we do everything with
> microformatted XHTML -- and, perhaps, Atom.  Certainly, I would think
> things like DocBook would make far more sense as a XHTML application
> rather than their own XML schema.

There is one little snag in this vision and that is in mime-types. Having
different mime-types is terribly useful for dispatching on both the client
and the server side. See for example Adobe Acrobat open up when you
click on a PDF, etc. Now this would be easier if we had 'layered' 
mime-types, that is, "this document is text/html containing an hCard".
Interestingly enough Roy Fielding covers layered encodings, and their
inclusion in REST but not in HTTP, in his thesis on REST:


Of course, that doesn't mean I dislike the vision; on the contrary, I
quite like the idea.


Joe Gregorio        http://bitworking.org

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