[whatwg] microformats incompatible with WebApps 1.0 ?

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Dec 11 20:40:13 PST 2006

On Mon, 11 Dec 2006, Mike Schinkel wrote:
> First, I find it ironic that on one hand you state microformats are 
> require a rigorous process yet on the other hand when people have asked 
> for a general purpose extension mechanism, you've pointed them to 
> microformats as their answer...

Yes; I think a rigorous process is important. Don't you? Designing formats 
ad hoc is hardly good design practice.

> So is the better approach to wait until the issue has created real 
> non-reversable problems and the web is even more Balkanized?

Yes. That's how technologies evolve and are designed. You let the market 
show you what is needed, then you address it. Addressing problems before 
they exist is a form of premature optimisation and is not a good way to 
design technologies.

> Can you say XHTML and text/html? (I thought you could.)

XHTML isn't an example of this. HTML itself is an example of this -- 
people needed calendar widgets, people made up massive hacks of JS 
libraries to get them, and eventually HTML added a calendar widget.

XHTML, if anything, is an example of the premature optimisation I 
mentioned. People didn't _need_ an XML version of HTML, but it was 
provided anyway, solving a non-existant (and poorly specified) problem. 
Result: a mess, with XHTML not even remotely addressing real needs.

> -- Anywhere else people want to create "add-hoc" microformats using 
> keyword values in class/profile attributes say they SHOULD use the 
> format of "xxxx-yyyy" where "xxxx" is an ad-hoc context/namespace and 
> "yyyy" is the specific semantic markup, i.e.
> 	<span profile="webspec-editor">Ian Hickson</span>

Realistically, most authors wouldn't follow such a requirement.

> As far as I can tell, this would have a small footprint in the spec. It 
> wouldn't be REQUIRED, and it wouldn't even need to be parsed by the HTML 
> parser. However, it would provide a disambiguation mechanism that 
> frankly I think would solve a huge future problem that will otherwise 
> occur.

Nobody is going to stop you from using disambiguating prefixes if you want 
to use them; in the documents you need to worry about, and in the formats 
you want to work with, I encourage you to use them.

> P.S. Already RDFa vcard conflicts with Microformat vcard.  Why not stop 
> the madness before it really starts?

RDFa isn't going to conflict with anything in the real world.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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