Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Microformats

Category: Microformat, Presentation, The Ajax Experience

<p>Kevin Lawver (or is it here?) discussed Microformats this morning at The Ajax Experience.

Microformats define ways to make your markup more descriptive, allowing a reader (be it machine or human) to very easily grok the just what you’re getting at. Basically, you know what you’re doing: why don’t you just tell us instead of making us guess?

A simple example: Your link to ajaxian from your blog (you do have one, right?) could indicate that the page you’re linking to should have the tag “ajax”. By adding that tag it’s obvious what you’re linking to and why you’re linking to it.

<a href="http://www.ajaxian.com" rel="tag">ajax</a>

On my blog I may link to ajaxian a bit differently, but due to the tagging someone would be able to quickly determine that my motivation is a bit different.

<a href="http://www.ajaxian.com" rel="tag">web 2.0</a>

The most obvious implication is making SEO-type tasks a bit simpler. A spider crawling your site can be told quite specifically what topics you are truly covering. At the moment you may not see a profound effect from properly applying these tags, but as microformat becomes more and more prolific (and consistent), they will likely be leveraged more and more for this purpose.

Try it out yourself: Make it easier for people to add you to their address books with an hCard on your blog (you can cheat a little and use this).

photo
David Hasselhoff

Baywatch
123 Fake St
Hollywood, CA, 90027 USA

This hCard created with the hCard creator.

As with any writeup, there was much in the presentation that isn’t represented here – checkout the slides for some more great info.

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Posted by Jim Halberg at 10:35 am
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[...] hCard is a simple, open, distributed format for representing people, companies, etc, using data from the vCard standard. This little web app will let you create a XHTML snippet that you can publish in a web page or tweak for inclusion in an RSS feed or other XML-type document. See an example at http://ajaxian.com/archives/microformats [...]

Pingback by hCard Creator: Publish your business card in your blog or website at There was Code; Then there was AJAX! — October 24, 2006

Your example of rel-tag is incorrect: it isn’t the text between the a tags that defines the tag, it’s the last portion of the url in the href. e.g:

{a href=”http://technorati.com/tags/ajax” rel=”tag”}some text that may or may not be the word ajax{/a}

Comment by Jeremy Keith — October 24, 2006

[...] So AOL created a series of shirts – which they themselves can be mashed up in various sequences.  The end effect is a nice (as Tara Hunt would say) ‘community of T-Shirts’.  This is where Kevin Lawver did his talk. [...]

Pingback by Marc’s Voice » Blog Archive » Smart steps forward for AOL — October 25, 2006

[...] every bit in blogs I could get. So here comes a small roundup of interesting posts. Reflecting on The Ajax ExperienceJSONRequest Proposal (also covered here)Death of the Desktop by Aza RaskinBrendan Eich: JavaScript 2and the Future of the WebHands on DWRDojo in Depth with Alex Russel (Introduction pdf, “Dojo in Depth”-Slides)Unobtrusive Ajax for Rails by Dan Webb (Low Pro, UJS4Rails) Microformats (hCard-Tool, Presentation-Slides) Also the guys from Ajaxian have put online their photos on Flickr. [...]

Pingback by Fading Roses & Raging Viruses » The Ajax Experience — November 5, 2006

Using Microformats is a good evening’s read and a useful reference – although you’ll likely gravitate towards the Microformats Wiki and community over time. It can be a little technical and hard going in places, the typography doesn’t always help here, and it can come across like a series of high quality blog posts in places which, depending on your point of view, could be a good or bad thing. Overall, I learnt quite a bit, picked up a few ideas along the way and was busy reading it moments after paying my money. Recommended.

Comment by Niacinerection — August 8, 2007

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