[uf-discuss] Should microformat features (like rel-tag) have
Derrick Lyndon Pallas
derrick at pallas.us
Wed Feb 7 20:30:31 PST 2007
Ryan King wrote:
> Actually I think it *is* quite reasonable to make parsers know about
> every microformat.
This is not viable from a consumer perspective. New formats can
immediately invalidate old parsers by changing the semantics the
consumer expects without so much as an annotation in the definition of
the affected format. (Incidentally, this is the same sort of problem
Aspect Orientation has.) The decoupling of a format's semantics from the
format definition has the additional effect that users may be struck by
unexpected semantics. Formats like rel-license suffer from the same problem.
> Microformats are designed to be easy to publish, even when that means
> that they're hard to parse. Simple economics show that it's much more
> valuable to make publishing low-cost, because the increased in
> published data will allow you to amortize the cost of writing and
> maintaining parsers across more transactions.
This is a straw-man. It doesn't make them harder to publish or add to
cost by adding the meta "uf" (or "scope" or whatever) to @class for top
level formats, especially to ask users (or generators) who are USING a
format to mark where the format begins because (presumably) they
understand that particular format.
> Also, microformats are not designed to be generic or open ended, but
> specific solutions to specific problems.
Certain features (like rel-tag or rel-license or rel-*) ARE being
reused, in practice; it is bad engineering to limit their usefulness.
There is a problem; I know because I'm a consumer. When an issue comes
up every three months and is brushed off as "not an issue" every time,
that is dishonest. Potential consumers have found it to be a problem in
practice; and yet, the current consumers think it is not a problem
because they don't see any need. Limiting the usefulness of something
prevents results in the wild, which stunts future progress.
> Requiring authors to add markup in order to make rel-tag's scope
> explicit makes it hard to publish the data and doesn't solve any real
Again, straw-man. Changing a string from "vcard" to "vcard uf" or
"xfolkentry" to "xfolkentry uf" is NOT HARD for the author of a
generator. On the other hand, it is much harder for a parser to
magically know all the current (and future) microformats. It does solve
real problems. Yes, there are other ways to solve the problem; in fact,
I do solve the problem in an unelegant way. My real issue now is (as
laid out above) the resistance to real discussion of the problem.
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