[uf-discuss] web programmers vs web designers and microformats

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Fri Jan 4 11:45:46 PST 2008

On 1/4/08 3:59 AM, "David Janes" <davidjanes at blogmatrix.com> wrote:

> Let me quote here something from a friend (who's had a fair bit of
> success in small startups over the last few years) in response to my
> question why he wasn't using XFN + hCard for a project:
> | The biggest problem with microformats is that nobody gets it.
> | If I tell a programmer its an XML vocabulary, then he says "gotch ya".
> | If I tell a programmer its microformats, then he says "micro what?"
> | There's a lot of interest in microformats because its cool, but few are
> | implementing them because of the learning curve.

While we're not actively avoiding targeting programmers, they're
(deliberately) not the primary audience for microformats.

Web designers and web authors (including folks who edit the PHP and other
templates out there that generate most of the page views on the web)
outnumber web programmers by 1000x (or more), and they definitely "get" the
use of semantic HTML (aka POSH)[1] and semantic class names.  From them the
response is more like:

| I just use *these* class names instead of making up my own? That's easy.

> <span class='vcard'><span class='fn'>David Janes</span></span> is a
> pretty damned hard sell.

The fact that hCard is *the* #1 format for publishing information about a
person on the Web would seem to refute that.


One thing to keep in mind, there are (still) going to be lots of specific
communities of folks that are not convinced by microformats (hardcore XML
programmers are the most notable example I've encountered).

That's ok.  There is no need to convince *everyone* of microformats.

Just as in the development of microformats, 80/20 applies to the "sell" as
well.  If someone is not convinced to use microformats, tell them no
problem, and check back with them in 6 months to a year when microformats
support on the Web and in applications has increased that much more.
Eventually they'll "get it".

Aside from that, perhaps some of the web programmers who are on this list
could write up how they were convinced on a wiki page like?



[1] http://microformats.org/wiki/POSH - this is a good litmus test for web
programmers you speak with.  If they haven't heard of semantic HTML, start
them with a POSH education before bothering with teaching them microformats.

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