[uf-discuss] Re: Microformats Would Benefit From a Pseudo-Namespace

Scott Reynen scott at randomchaos.com
Fri Sep 14 08:33:26 PDT 2007

On Sep 14, 2007, at 2:02 AM, Jens Meiert wrote:

> The microformats community could happily go on with creating yet  
> more names if these were at least neutralized with a prefix or  
> suffix or whatever, while about everyone might change or extend  
> sites just as he or she wants, not being forced to think about  
> possible interactions with microformat elements.

I think it's actually better that publishers do think about possible  
interactions with microformat elements, and all other elements for  
that matter.  Increased awareness of the implications made by markup  
is a good thing.  It's the basis of semantic HTML.  If someone  
doesn't want to think about how their markup will be interpretted,  
they're free to go on using <table> for non-tabular data and  
class="photo" for elements that aren't actually photos, but by doing  
so they miss out on the benefits of a shared vocabulary.

> There's a reverse side, though: Several people might indeed want to  
> style elements with the same class names the same way (assuming  
> semantical agreement, this makes total sense). But, it still seems  
> to mean better, more "unobtrusive" design to require CSS  
> modifications /then/.

That doesn't make much sense to me.  I think it makes sense that a  
given class, say "photo", should mean the same thing everywhere it's  
used.  If you're using "photo" to mean something different from what  
it means in hCard, one of the two is using an odd definition of the  
term.  Converging on single definitions for terms is a good way to  
ease communication, just as it is with natural language, hence we  
have dictionaries.

But even if we were to assume (charitably, I think) that the divide  
between publishers who want their hCard photos to behave/look  
different from all their other photos and those who want them to  
behave/look the same is roughly 50/50, the former half is still  
smaller because not everyone uses class="photo" outside hCard.  Your  
namespace would require more work from *all* publishers, whether or  
not they actually have conflicting class names, whereas the current  
naming conventions only require more specific selectors in the  
(hopefully increasingly) rare cases where we don't all mean roughly  
the same thing with a given term.

It seems you're arguing for a mechanism to ease the continued  
fragmentation of HTML semantics, but I think the whole point of  
microformats is to standardize on shared meaning.


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