Tuesday, June 25, 2013


tagline “humans first, machines second”
Microformats are a collection of vocabularies for extending HTML with additional machine-readable semantics. Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. A microformat is a web-based approach to semantic markup which seeks to re-use existing HTML/XHTML tags to convey metadata and other attributes in web pages and other contexts that support (X)HTML, such as RSS. This approach allows software to process information intended for end-users (such as contact information, geographic coordinates, calendar events, and similar information) automatically.
Being machine readable means a robot or script that understands the microformat vocabulary being used can understand and process the marked-up data. Each microformat defines a specific type of data and is usually based on existing data formats — like vcard (address book data; RFC2426) and icalendar (calendar data; RFC 2445) — or common coding patterns. Microformats are extensions to HTML for marking up people, organizations, events, locations, blog posts, products, reviews, resumes, recipes etc. Sites use microformats to publish a standard API that is consumed and used by search engines, browsers, and other tools.
Microformats are:
  • A way of thinking about data
  • Design principles for formats
  • Adapted to current behaviors and usage patterns (“Pave the cow paths.”)
  • Highly correlated with semantic XHTML, AKA the real world semantics, AKA lowercase semantic web, AKA lossless XHTML
  • A set of simple open data format standards that many are actively developing and implementing for more/better structured blogging and web microcontent publishing in general.
  • “An evolutionary revolution”
Microformats are not:
  • A new language
  • Infinitely extensible and open-ended
  • An attempt to get everyone to change their behavior and rewrite their tools
  • A whole new approach that throws away what already works today
  • A panacea for all taxonomies, ontologies, and other such abstractions
  • Defining the whole world, or even just boiling the ocean
Microformats principles:
  • Solve a specific problem
  • Start as simple as possible
  • Design for humans first, machines second
  • Reuse building blocks from widely adopted standards
  • Modularity / embeddability
  • Enable and encourage decentralized development, content, services
The contact information using 'hCard' microformat markup as below:
<ul class="vcard">
  <li class="fn">Joe Doe</li>
  <li class="org">The Example Company</li>
  <li class="tel">604-555-1234</li>
  <li><a class="url" href="http://example.com/">http://example.com/</a></li>
Here, the formatted name (fn), organisation (org), telephone number (tel) and web address (url) have been identified using specific class names and the whole thing is wrapped in class="vcard".

Website: http://microformats.org/
Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microformat 

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