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What can you do with microformats?

There are many great things you can do with microformats. This page presents an opportunity for you to share your favorite explanation of the great things that microformats can do and why you use them.

Chris Messina

Microformats make it easy for you or anyone to share and reuse data in your webpages and content elsewhere -- for example, to populate an address book, browse social relationships, share reviews, tag content or publish and discover events.

by Chris Messina, with minor tweaks by Tantek Çelik.

Michael McCracken

Another relatively general blurb:

With Microformats, you can send & publish things like events, business cards, and product reviews as meaningful XHTML that a person can read in a browser, but a program can import, index and remix as native data.

It might also be worth adding the following:

Even better, if you've got a favorite kind of data that's already published on the web but needs to be easier to share, find and remix, *you* can join in or even start the The microformats process to make the web we already have more useful. Examples of efforts already underway include things as diverse as recipes, chat logs, hash checksums, resumés, and citations.

A future explanation of why I *will* use microformats:

Someday soon, I'll be able to import correct publication info in one click from a researcher's home page just as easily as I can from a publisher's search portal. It might even be easier, depending on the publisher. And maybe one day with a journal acceptance email, I might get the official XHTML to just post verbatim on my web site, enabling the whole round trip without anyone mangling a name.

Ernest Prabhakar

Microformats are a way to enable "smart scraping" of web pages, so that you can create tools and scripts that losslessly extract machine-readable information from cleanly-formatted, human-readable HTML.

Ben West

Microformats are a collection of class values that endow webpages with better meaning. This increased fidelity provides support for user interfaces meant to do more than browse the web. A microformat is a specific way to encode a commonly understood concept in any web page. The kind of concept is often embedded as a certain class of objects, such as contacts, reviews, citations, or relationships. Using the class attribute allows authors to style these structures in a way already familiar to many people, as well as denoting the kind of concept being represented. The meaning of the kind of concept is then available to a browser. In this way, we can begin building smarter, and more personable, computers.

Jessy Cowan-Sharp

the microformat movement is working to define atomic pieces of content of various types-- so that it is more easily identified in either machine or human form, and can then be integrated, re-mixed, or simply recognized and used appropriately, in applications beyond the one they were initially deployed in. microformats support a move to a network experience less defined by the application you are running or page you are viewing, and more defined by the content itself.


Designers can create CSS styles to control layout and design, making the information more or less aesthetically pleasing to the eye, while engineers can write software to allow easy interaction with the data (importing contact info into an address book or event info into a calendar), allowing the consumer do more than just read the information.

Alan Hogan

You can make your content more findable (e.g. by using rel="tag") and less ambiguous (e.g. with hCard 1.0 and hCalendar) with minimal effort.

Michael McCracken

You can publish your Signature, Avatar and other Data and use them for all your Web Profiles being assured that all your Profiles will always be up to date

Asa Berdahl

Make the content more than text. You can take a page and leave it how it is, or you can add the relation attribute here and there, or even start using the hCard, or hCalender, and get even more out of that page. See, microformats doesn't ask you to start doing something entirely different, it just asks that you start doing what you were already doing, but better. Microformats ensures quality of coding, and in content. Why not use it?

See Also