microformats - 2/2 - Broken Links Archive

IE8’s WebSlices — another practical Microformat

One of the new features already announced for IE8 is WebSlices; essentially, the ability to subscribe to any part of a web page, even if it doesn’t have an RSS feed. It sounds somewhat similar to Firefox’s Microsummaries feature*, although it’s a) easier to implement, b) more flexible, and c) not buried in the browser where no-one could ever find it.

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Immediate uses for Microformats

One of the hardest things about Microformats is explaining their benefits to people. You can say “It’s a standardised format of marking-up content, which is both human and machine readable!” until you’re blue in the face, but until you can show people a practical benefit they usually remain unmoved.

Luckily there are a few tools out there which will help you show off the benefits of using Microformats, and involve little work from you.

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The Microformats vEvent that wasn’t

Having missed the opening party, my introduction to London Web Week was last night’s Microformats vEvent. Unfortunately it wasn’t a good introduction, for two reasons;

First (and foremost), it wasn’t really about Microformats. The first speaker talked about RDFa and GRDDL, the second about RDFa and FOAF.

Second, the presumption was that we had an extremely high level of technical knowledge; a presumption that wasn’t true, in my case at least. I’m fairly new to Microformats but I have a pretty good idea of what they’re about; both talks went over my head anyway. And my poor wife, who’s learning about them for the first time, had no idea what was going on.

The description of the event said:

We hope that no matter your experience level, you’ll find the evening informative, enjoyable and inspiring.

I didn’t. In fact, it may well have been counter-productive for me; it took a subject I’m excited about, and made it sound complicated and boring.

I’m sure that some people would have got a lot out of it — the man next to me who’s studying for his pHD in artificial intelligence certainly seemed to enjoy it — but I think the organisers should have been more honest about the technical knowledge required, and saved some attendees a bit of time.

I did get a book for asking a question, however, so it wasn’t a total loss.


HTML 5 and reserved class names

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking recently.

I’ve been thinking about HTML 5 and the new semantic sectioning elements it proposes to introduce: header, footer, section, article, nav and aside.

I’ve also been thinking about the way microformats use data format standards and reserved class and id values to organise content.

Then thinking about this 2005 research into reused class names, which shows that, probably mostly unconsciously, website makers were already using the proposed HTML 5 elements as class names to organise their data.

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Aside

I’ve updated my Speaking page to include more conferences, more videos, and a little on my speaking requirements and preferences. I’m planning to cut down on the number of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to interesting offers and opportunities, so please get in touch if you’re organising an event.

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