Archive for the 'microformats' Category


Friday, September 15th, 2006

In addition to starting school again (for the last time). I’ve been working hard. I’ve reengineered the technology behind our microformats search at Technorati (currently still in our kitchen, aka ‘labs’). It’s been a fun project especially because I’ve gotten to work with a fun language, framework and libaries (this one too).

I guess it’s finally time to take a breath.

Microformats dot org 1-year anniversary

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Tomorrow, June 21st is the one year anniversary of Microformats dot org. Its really tough to believe that I’ve been working on this for more than a year. And, after a year, things seem to be going stronger than ever. Here’s some random thoughts:

  1. When we started the site, we thought the project would have a limited shelf-life. We really thought we’d spend six to nine months working on new formats, then that’d be it. We’d then go on publishing and building tools. We have many ongoing efforts and there’s no end in sight.
  2. Its taken longer for us to get microformats search going than I expected. There’s been a lot of good things going on at Technorati.
  3. Microformats have gotten more positive reception from members of the UpperCase Semantic Web Crowd than I expected. I’ve also learned a lot more about those technologies and that crowd.

Of course, since its Web 2.0, and Web 2.0 is about the partying, there’ll be a Microformats Dot Org anniversary party tomorrow night at 111 Minna. See upcoming for details.

WWW2006, so far

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

I’m at WWW 2006 this week, in Edinburgh. Its a lovely city, despite the rain and chill (I won’t complain about San Francisco’s wetness anymore).

Yesterday, I spent the day in a workshop on Collaborative Web Tagging, then went over to a local event, Refresh Edinburgh, to give a presentation on microformats with Brian.

Today, I’m sitting in a workshop on the weblogging ecosystem. There’s a lot of interesting material, it will take me awhile to digest all of it.

The rest of the week looks very interesting, more to come later.


Monday, April 17th, 2006

You may have noticed that the previous entry looked a bit different than others. If you look under the hood, you’ll see that its marked up with the xFolk microformat.

xFolk is just a way to do stuff like in a more distributed way.

Many of my short little posts end up on, instead of this blog, but I would like to change that. At the same time, I still want my stuff tagged in, for easier searching.

So, I’ve written a 66-line ruby script that will read my blog, parse out the xFolk and post it to I’ll release it for others to use soon-ish.

Richard MacManus gets microformats wrong

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Richard MacManus is talking about how to design with microcontent. There’s few quotable bits that I have to disagree with:

XML has largely lived up to its promise of being the data format of choice for the Web 2.0 era.

Eh, don’t think so. I wasn’t a web professional when XML first hit the scene, but the OG’s have told me all about this potential. I can’t help but contrast Richard’s point with Simon St. Laurent’s:

XML has occasionally found its way to the Web, but it’s hard to remember now that once upon a time, XML was supposed to be directly on the Web, the files people loaded and manipulated…

The particular XML Web described by Bosak and Bray [leaders of developing XML -ed.] never happened. (It still could, but hasn’t.)

XML has failed to live up to its potential on the web. Sure, it works great behind firewalls and in specific applications, but, remember, XML was supposed to replace HTML. Even XHTML doesn’t precisely work.

XML has come no where near matching HTML in terms of distribution and interoperability. Certainly, there are some incompatibilities between various user agents, but those are being improved as I write (and most of the problems are regarding rendering, not HTML itself).

On the web, HTML still outweights XML, in many ways:

  1. There’s more data in HTML than XML.
  2. There’s more HTML resources than XML resources.
  3. There’s more people who can competently author HTML than XML.

Today, the format of the web, 2.0 or not, is HTML. It may change in the future, but it hasn’t yet.

Anyway, on the the point where I want to disagree with MacManus. He says:

Microformats is the generic name given to any format that builds on XML to provide additional metadata about web objects.

Actually Richard, no.

You must not have been paying attention, because microformats are built on HTML, not XML. Sure, you can use them with with XHTML, but that is by no means a requirement.

Also, ‘microformats’ refers to a specific way of extending the web, via modularization and iteration on top of existing formats with existing schemas (where possible). This is much different that Structured Blogging, which ignores the most common format on the web (HTML) and manages to replicate and hide the interesting data.

The interesting data is in the content. Putting data in arbitrary XML is not useful and lacks the sharing potential of the WWW.