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ETech 2007 Proposal Template

Audience Type: Describe the intended audience: systems administrators, web designers, designers, programmers, educators, managers, or other.

Abstract or Full Description: Maximum 250 words, about 35 lines. The abstract is displayed online.

Brief Description: Maximum 50 words, about 7 lines. Used for marketing pieces.

ETech 2006 Session Description


Tantek Çelik, Technorati, Shawn Carnell, AOL, Yoz Grahame, Ning, Joe Gregorio, AtomPub Workgroup, Rohit Khare, CommerceNet Labs, Kevin Marks, Technorati, Mark Pilgrim, IBM

Date: Tuesday, March 07

Time: 5:30pm - 6:15pm

Location: Elizabeth Ballroom A

Microformats are simple semantic XHTML extensions for expressing numerous common concepts (people, events, etc.) on today's Web. Tantek Çelik will provide a short introduction, followed by a series of speakers performing lightning demonstrations of their microformats enabled tools, sites, hacks and other implementations.

Original ETech 2006 Proposal Text

Title: Microformats: Recycling XHTML

Conference: O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2006 Type/Duration: 90m

Audience Level: General

Audience Type: web designers, programmers, educators

Short Description: Microformats are a clever adaptation of semantic XHTML that makes it easier to publish, index, and extract semi-structured information such as tags, calendar entries, contact information, and reviews on the Web. Microformats can make your existing XHTML easier to recycle into new services and applications.

Description: Microformats have already made it easier for bloggers and other publishers to describe their social relationships (XFN), make event descriptions searchable by location and time (hCalendar), offer their contact information (hCard), and share their opinions (hReview). They use existing standards and practices in XHTML to get the job done: link relationships, element classes, outline structures, and abbreviations to name a few.

By avoiding the complexity of managing multiple metadata formats in multiple files, microformats make it easier for readers of XHTML pages to recycle the structured data that's hidden in plain view. This makes microformats an exciting approach towards achieving the benefits of the Semantic Web: better search, personalization, and reuse of knowledge across new services and applications.

This session presents four perspectives: the leader of the community developing the specifications; a producer that added hCalendar microformat support to their site in an hour; a consumer who wrote a parser in JavaScript over a weekend (complete with test cases!); and a Web pioneer who has been deeply involved in the development of HTML and RDF.

While it can be easy for publishers to generate microformatted XHTML, it requires more work from programmers than a comparable bespoke XML format would. So far, new microformats have also introduced new parsing rules that inhibit the development of generic processing tools. In closing, we will also discuss the future of microformats in light of the old saw, "Sure, it works in practice -- but does it work in *theory*?"

Speaker bio: Rohit Khare is an award-winning researcher in the fields of Internet protocols and decentralized systems. He founded KnowNow in 2000 and previously worked on Internet standards at W3C and MCI. He founded 4K Associates and edited the O'Reilly Web Journal. He received his Ph.D. in Software Engineering from U.C. Irvine in 2003.

Co-Presenters: Tantek Celik, Andy Baio, Mark Pilgrim, Dan Connolly (Invited)

Speaker notes and comments: We'd consider alternative presentation formats for discussing the latest microformats tools and the implications of the community movement around microformats, such as a panel debate.