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Five Pertinent Questions for John Allsopp : Comments

By Carolyn Wood

May 14, 2007


Christian Ready

May 15, 2007 6:41 AM

I really enjoyed this article. Very well written and very well discussed. I do have one question though: John remarks:

“But search engines have a lot of [finding reviews of places to eat or movies to watch ] because again, there is no common format for marking up your opinion about stuff. Enter hResume


May 15, 2007 8:54 AM

Great article. Now lets get down the brass tacks. What are the most popular microformats, and how are they being used for data aggregation around the web?

Henrik Wissing

May 15, 2007 10:07 AM

Microformats are definitively coming in the near future and there will be plenty of services who will use them. However I’m note sure if all the people who have websites will use them – wether on their personal website or in their blog. Movable Type, Wordpress & Co will have Microformats built in (there are already plugins out there) BUT I doubt that everybody will use such a blogging system where you can add microformats in a jiffy.

Also what about my friends who don’t have a webpage and are not going to have one in the near future?

I will only be able to ask a search engine things like

“Find me all the events my friends are going to in September in New York”

if they

1) have an online presentation
2) use XFN on their webpage

Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of microformats, I just don’t believe they will suit the needs of the majority…


May 15, 2007 12:43 PM

Henrik, of course there is a cost associated with using microformats, but it will start to generate ROI as the content is picked up more widely by various applications. At some point it will become a competitive advantage to use microformats. If any real killer apps come out, certain microformats could become standard business requirements.

Take RSS for instance. Not everyone has it, but if you are publishing content regularly than it has a huge impact. No one trying to grow a website can afford to ignore RSS. The same thing could easily happen with a number of different microformats depending on the goals of the site and the applications that pop up. By themselves microformats don’t do much, but it’s really hard to predict what will happen in the web ecosystem.

john Allsopp

May 15, 2007 2:36 PM

christian - you are right - it should be hReview Gabe – thanks very much. First, Take a look at my article for DW last year for a run down of the state of uf usage back then

The Big Picture on Microformats

There’s also quite a bit on this in my book ;-)

And I cover it at my blog, microformatique

In a nutshell, hCard, hCalendar, hReview and hResume, rel-tag and rel-license, are all widely used. There are 9 milion plus hResumes at LinkedIn, millions of hReviews at Yahoo Local and Yahoo Tech, and millions of events at upcomin, eventful, meetup and other events aggregating sites.

Does that help?

@Henrik – I gues if it’s not on the web, we aren’t ging to be able to find it ;-)
But, even though your friend may not have a personal web presence, if they have for example an account at upcoming, and nominate you as a friend, then, we can see that scenario playing out . The pooint is not that upcoming can tel us what your friends are doing, but if upcoming publishes microformatted content, then (subject to their licensing terms) anyone who cares can write an app that can find this stuff out and make it searchable – does tat make sense?

thanks for the thoughtful comments all,


Jeff Croft

May 17, 2007 9:58 PM

Good piece. Slight tangent:

I sometimes wish web designers and developers were as passionate about getting the back end of their setups as semantically sound as the front. Everyone’s getting all excited about Microformats and that other acronym which I refuse to type publicly, and yet the same people are using blogging software to create a database of web browser plug-ins..

Seriously, how is that any more appropriate than using tables for layout?

Note: Not picking on Jon here…I love Jon! It was just the first example that came to mind, but there are tons more

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