[uf-discuss] Product Data Microformat Revisited

Mike Dierken dierken at gmail.com
Fri Mar 10 23:28:05 PST 2006

> I wonder also if anyone else has any more actual uses (I realise mine is
> kinda only relevant to me/reevoo.com) of a product microformat; and,
> almost more importantly, whether these uses would bring any compelling
> reasons for the retailers to sign up?
I am also wondering where and when a microformat for products would be
useful. I'm generally wondering when /microformats/ are useful. It
seems to me that general narrative text and general conversations in
text sometimes have 'hard' data like people, places, dates, times,
phone numbers, etc Marking these as /being/ people, places, dates,
etc. makes it easier for software to process - but the underlying data
below the markup is still readable and sensible to people. Product
data isn't like this at all. It's an unregulated mass of named
properties with little rhyme or reason - there is no need to gently
superimpose tags without breaking the elegance of the underlying data
because there simply isn't any underlying elegance.

What it sounds like may be useful is a simple way for people to talk
about things and reference those things, but without needed to fill in
the blanks for unnecessary detail. For example, if I talk about the
new mountain bike that I bought and immediatly scratched up by tipping
over, it would be cool if I could tag the phrase "new mountain bike"
as a reference to a product - but I don't want to actually describe
the composition of the bike, the kind of tires and suspension and
whatnot. People don't do that, manufacturers do.

If we want to solve this for manufacturers, then just use XML. Then
the next problem is how can software determine which attributes from
which manufacturers mean the same thing? That's where a shared 'open
product attribute' database would be useful.

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