Uche Ogbuji On Microformats : Stop, Click, Read, Understand

by M. David Peterson

XML.com: Microformats in Context

Are schema technologies a way to manage the flexibility that XML brings to the table, or just another weapon to put down users ("You don't validate. Go away")? Of course, the way I've posed these questions reveals my bias. I think that XML should be a tool for expressiveness and controlled diversity on the Web. I disagree strongly with the notion, recently expressed in a few quarters, that there are only a few viable XML formats, and that people should stop creating more. At the center of this controversy is the new Web 2.0 hotness: microformats. If you're not already familiar with this phenomenon, first read "What Are Microformats".


Uche was kind enough to allow me a sneak-peak at this article before it hit the XML.com MicroPress. As a result I now see Microformats in a completely different light than I had before, and have changed the focus and direction of how I plan to now include support for Microformats in various projects I have under development. NOTE: If interested, you can monitor the progress of several of these projects at http://dev.extensibleforge.net. Access to the SVN repo is available as well. Visit the previous link for more information.

In regards to truly understanding Microformats, and the importance that XML plays in the here and now, and in the future (in fact, ESCPECIALLY the future) you need to read this article. Very few things could be considered more important...

For example,

2 Comments

len
2006-04-27 08:15:54
This is at least the third time these ideas have been proposed in markup. Yawn....


It comes down to overloading semantics. The class attribute is the orthogonal portal to uncontrolled complexity, therefore, instability. They are best avoided but they point up the real problem, that XML really isn't a means of extensibility, just portability, and when it is used that way, there is a limit to its scalability.


No free semantic lunch.

M. David Peterson
2006-04-27 11:10:45
Hey Len,


> This is at least the third time these ideas have been proposed in markup. Yawn....


I guess I've missed them... Links?


> It comes down to overloading semantics. The class attribute is the orthogonal portal to uncontrolled complexity, therefore, instability.


Need to think more on this one....


> They are best avoided but they point up the real problem, that XML really isn't a means of extensibility, just portability,


In regards to expressing an Object-Oriented Programming object that is simply serialized to XML and passed to another system and regardless of the underlying OS/System, have a general understanding as to what it is, and what it does, I agree. As far as it relates to the semantic web, however, I'm not sure I can say I understand the direct connection. Not saying it not blatantly obvious, just that I need to think it through some more.


> and when it is used that way, there is a limit to its scalability.


100% agree... This is why I am glad to see MS has taken a DSL-approach to the future of the .NET platform, even though a UML-based tool set would obviously be easier to absorb by the existing community. One size fits all, generally speaking, doesn't.


> No free semantic lunch.


I definitely agree with this! :D


Thanks again for your comments, Len! As always, they are much appreciated :)