[whatwg] microformats incompatible with WebApps 1.0 ?

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at gmail.com
Mon Dec 11 21:14:09 PST 2006

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

Apples and oranges. Using your same context I could argue that people
shouldn't be allowed to markup content as HTML pages without a rigorous

> 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.

There is a need for balance in all things. Boeing doesn't send up an
airplane planning to re-engineer it after it fails.  Microsoft doesn't plan
to release software that doesn't meet the objectives of their marketing
directors.  Planning 100% up front and doing no planning at all are both
fool's plans.

That said, it is a real problem.  I am coming to this issue because I have
the need to use a lot of semantic markup in a project I am working on and I
am already seeing where they are clashing, in the Microformat adr being but
one example:

<div class="adr">
 <div class="street-address">665 3rd St.</div>  
 <div class="extended-address">Suite 207</div>  
 <span class="locality">San Francisco</span>,  
 <span class="region">CA</span>  
 <span class="postal-code">94107</span>  
 <div class="country-name">U.S.A.</div> 

Now let's say I want to use something called "RegionData" where Regions are

<div class="region-data">
 <div class="region street" title="child-of-city">665 3rd St.; Suite
 <span class="region city" title="child-of-state">San Francisco</span>,  
 <span class="region state" title="child-of-country">CA</span>
 <span class="post-code">94107</span>
 <div class="region country" title="child-of-continent">U.S.A.</div>

Now, someone needs to use both:

<div class="region-data vcard">
 <div class="region street" title="child-of-city">
	<div class="street-address">665 3rd St.</div>
	 <div class="extended-address">Suite 207</div>  
 <span class="region city locality" title="child-of-state">San
 <span class="region state region"  title="child-of-country">CA</span>

 <span class="post-code postal-code">94107</span>  
 <div class="region country country-name"

How do I disambiguate between region-data's "region" and vcard's "region?"
Assume I created my RegionData with no knowledge that vcard existed, because
unless there is a central clearing house to avoid name clashes, two
different groups will end up creating conflicting microformats with clashing

> XHTML isn't an example of this. HTML itself is an example of this...

That's what I meant.  You repeated my point for me.

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

Can you please indicate how you were able to arrive at those statistics so
quickly given that I just emailed this proposal to you minutes ago?  

(that's a rhetorical question, of course.)

You frequently say "people won't" but I content that when it is simple
enough to understand and simple enough to implement where their doing so
doesn't take anything away from them but does give them value, they will
definitely do it. People are yearning for guidance that they can follow that
doesn't upset their sensibilities (If people are not yearing for guidance,
why is the world so religious, percentage-wise?) If you give them something
simple that they echo chamber can crow about, they will do it. They want to
be led; lead them.

> 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.

Then why not take just one more tiny step and encourage everyone to do so?

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

Hehe. Now I can't argue with that one! ;)

-Mike Schinkel

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