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What are microformats?

microformats are the simplest way to openly publish contacts, events, reviews, recipes, and other structured information on the web.

microformats.org maintains the official registry of HTML rel values.

Check out microformats2 for current work.

the microformats principles

Main article: principles


See testimonials and quotes relating to the principles.

current microformats

See the main page for a list of current microformats specifications, drafts, and discussions.

How microformats started

What are microformats started with the following in 2005:

microformats are

microformats are not

more thoughts on how microformats are different

There are plenty of existing formats that are nearly totally useless/ignored.

They're not totally useless though. They're useful in that they illustrate what at least someone thought might be useful, which unfortunately is typically a lone-inventor working a-priori without any domain expertise.

Or there is the other extreme. Lots of corporate inventors working with plenty of experience, over-designing a format for what might be needed some day. In particularly bad cases, the corporate vendors collude to prevent openness and/or adoptability by the open source community. Media standards often suffer from this kind of deliberate "strategic" positioning.

We seek to combat all of those problems with the microformat approach.

Some ask what the purpose of the (intended) standards is.

Why do you need purpose? More often than not, premature focus on purpose tends to distort data formats towards a particular application which may not be all that relevant. Hence rather than focus on a-priori purpose, we focus on modelling existing behavior, with the knowledge that additional structure will yield plenty of interesting uses, most of which we will not be able to a-priori predict.

This is obviously a very different approach than traditional data format efforts.

Positive with iteration rather than negative with inaction.

Microformats tend to take a positive attitude of developing and using the best techniques we can come up with (and iterating upon them), rather than banning or blocking techniques for reasons of fear or cost and thus resulting in inaction. To scrap something, there must be a better alternative provided which addresses the same problem(s) at least as well, with lower costs.

microformats was last modified: Friday, May 10th, 2013