Microformats on Safari/iPhone

Warning This article was written over six months ago, and may contain outdated information.

I’ve become one of the ranked masses of iPhone users, and now that I’ve come to terms with its limitations I’m generally pretty happy with it. One thing that strikes me as pretty strange, however, is the lack of support for the common data formats iCalendar and vCard — and, as a result of that, the non-existent support of the hCalendar and hCard microformats — in Safari.

It seems to me that a device such as the iPhone, with its built-in calendar and address book, would be able to make great use of the above microformats to pull contact data and events from web pages; it is, in fact, almost the perfect device for doing so.

The Safari team, however, have decided instead to use their own phone number recognition system highlight numbers embedded in web pages, and similar technology to harvest addresses from maps and SMS messages. No way to get contacts from web pages, though, and no way to get calendar data at all.

Likewise, the desktop version of Safari has no native microformats support, relying on a third-party app (for OS X only) as the only method of browser integration. I mean, even IE has (limited) support for microformats in their forthcoming version!

But even if microformats support is too much to hope from Safari, the lack of support for iCalendar and vCard is positively bewildering. If Apple don’t provide a way to automatically harvest our data, they could at least recognise the standard formats when we transform it ourselves.

I look on this as a missed opportunity by Apple; and there aren’t many of those.

1 comment on
“Microformats on Safari/iPhone”

  1. …this is rather disappointing news…I am looking to implement this very feature on a current project. Any information on a work around, progress or developments in this area would be welcome and much appreciated