natural language hCards (was Re: [uf-discuss] web programmers vs web designers and microformats)

Tantek Ç elik tantek at
Fri Jan 4 15:19:59 PST 2008

On 1/4/08 2:23 PM, "David Janes" <davidjanes at> wrote:

> On Jan 4, 2008 2:45 PM, Tantek Çelik <tantek at> wrote:
>> The fact that hCard is *the* #1 format for publishing information about a
>> person on the Web would seem to refute that.
> "Profiles" is not the problem that Andy & Ryan C. are talking about:
> they're talking about using hCard in casual references to people and
> places on the web. For example, on your blog, you've coded:
> | My friend <a href="">Julie</a> and I
> thought this up when discussing
> | end of year rituals, and threw it together quickly and roughly  in a
> matter of days (like the first BarCamp).
> | We invited a bunch of people (also coarsely brainstormed, certainly
> not comprehensive), a few of
> | whom were actually available to attend, and shared an incredible two
> days of reflection
> |  (what <em>did</em> you do) and projection (what are you <em>going
> to</em> do).

Ah ok, this is what Jeremy Keith refers to as "natural language hCards",
wherein you simply markup inline references to people accordingly.  He's got
some really good examples of this, including mixes of nicknames etc.

Brief section on this in hcard-authoring:

which references Jeremy's post on the subject:

I've just added a bit more to that section based on Jeremy's real world
markup of "Malarkey" in his blog post to illustrate further.

> They're suggesting that you're much more likely to provide semantic
> information about "Julie" if you were willing to do the simple
> operating of adding (for example) 'class='vcard'" to the A tag.

That being said, good point, I should markup Julie as such in that blog
post.  Updated.

What really gets people to use more markup in blog posts though, is the
little creator/style buttons that often line up just above the top of a blog
post editing textarea for creating links, lists etc.

What we need is a "person" button (perhaps with an icon similar to the icon
next to your username when you are logged into the microformats wiki) which
simply inserts the markup for you, or better yet, lets you pick someone from
your address book, and then inserts an inline hCard with their name, URL
(and perhaps even XFN relationship to them) for you.  That little bit of
extra markup pales in comparison to the typical prose of a blog post.

Perhaps we could ask various blogging tool makers to add such a feature.
Similarly for events.

I've noted this in the plugins / web-apps sections of hCard advocacy:

> Regards, etc...

Thanks again as always David, you've raised and clarified good points.


On 1/4/08 2:50 PM, "Kevin Marks" <kevinmarks at> wrote:

> In semantic HTML, the right way to do this would be to use <cite>
> around the name:
> <cite>Julie</cite>
> so doing
> <cite class="hcard" ><a href="" class="url
> uid fn" rel="friend">Julie</a></cite>
> which has an implied nickname, and adds the XFN for "my friend"

I'm not really quoting or citing Julie for saying something, so I'm not sure
that <cite> is appropriate in this case.  However, the markup I ended up
using is close to what you suggested.  Here it is with white-space added for

<span class="vcard">
 <abbr class="fn" title="Juliette Melton">
  <a class="url nickname" rel="friend" href="">

I've added this example to the hcard-authoring natural language hCard
section as well.

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