2005/06/21

Supernova: Microformats

An excellent workshop primarily because it was a demonstration ofpragmatic solutions.  I've been just slightly involved with someof the microformat work and I've been looking for resources to helpbuild mindshare at AOL.  The microformats.org web site announced here is exactly what I need.  And now I see that Tantek has put his excellent introduction up there.  Go look!

What I like about microformats:  Start simple and focused. Evolve rapidly.  Borrow like crazy. Keep things humanreadable.  Decentralize completely.  Get real worldexperience.  Microformats like tags, hCalendar, and hReview are simple enough (and built oninfrastructure that's solid enough) to let the community buildinteroperable services.

Best part for users:  Microformats are based on XHTML.  Whichmeans they're human readable HTML as far as users are concerned. No weird XML gobbledygook, no strange attachments, no extra files tocart around.

Specifics:  hCalendar is great because it's just vCalendar mappedto XHTML.  There was a great demo of a service which turns anhCalendar link into an vCalendar data stream automatically; I'm nowsubscribed to Tantek's calendarthrough this service. hReview is based on what people are publishing onthe web today, just adding some markup so machines can see thesemantics.

Tools are starting to pop up.  There's a Greasemonkey script fordoing hCalendar in any text box.  Movable Type is adding supportfor writing hReviews.  Next step will beservices like Technorati and Google paying attention to the semantics.

Next topic was tags, the uber-microformat (or nanoformat).  It'llhave to wait for the next post, though.  Need to get some sleep.