This page documents the history of hCard and thus hopefully can help answer questions about its origins, original design, context, intentions etc. It's by no means complete, but at least provides a rough outline of significant events in the history of hCard. See also microformats history.
September 10th FOO Camp
The decision to base hCard on vCard was an explicit decision. In fact, the concept of reusing the vCard schema in semantic (X)HTML predated even the name "hCard" (as all format efforts should, that is, the concept should be defined before the name).
It started more as posh actually (in concept obviously, not in name, since posh itself wasn't adopted as a term until 2007), that is, I asked rhetorically in September of 2004 at FOO Camp, what if we used the properties from vCard as class names in semantic HTML?
It was an easy decision to make at the time (and still now) because vCard is by far the most dominant contact information standard/schema in existence in terms of raw quantity of data and in terms of implementations. Though since introduction, hCard appears to have eclipse vCard in terms of raw numbers of items published on the Web sometime in 2008.
After brainstorming and marking up a few documents with Kevin Marks, and seeing that the use of those properties "worked", I asked folks for possible names. hCard seemed to be a reasonable "working name" and it stuck. Ray Ozzie was among the folks at FOO Camp 2004 (which occurred before Ray went to Microsoft) that I bounced the idea of hCard off of, and he said it seemed like a good idea to him.
September 11th FOO Camp
Similarly I participated in the "HTML For Calendars discussion" discussion the next day at FOO Camp, where I proposed a similar approach - that of just using HTML class names for iCalendar properties, which became hCalendar.
The development of hCard (and similarly hCalendar, as I conceived the two pretty much simultaneously due to similar discussions) very much drove the "research previous existing formats" portion of the The microformats process.
September 30th hCard blogged
I blogged this a bit at the time: "Semantic XHTML" slides posted.
June 20th contributed to microformats.org
- Contributed from http://developers.technorati.com/wiki/hCard 2005-06-20 with the launch of microformats.org.
Live Clipboard introduced with hCard support
- Ray Ozzie (who was at the FOO Camp where I came up with hCard, and who subsequently joined Microsoft via acquisition) unveiled and demonstrated his team's "Live Clipboard" innovation at O'Reilly's Etech conference in San Diego, California which implemented hCard and hCalendar. I believe Rohit Khare has HD video of the demo.