[whatwg] Prices on the Web

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue May 6 18:10:05 PDT 2008

On Tue, 12 Dec 2006, Mike Schinkel wrote:
> >
> > Yes, visible metadata is far more likely to be kept updated than 
> > invisible metadata (a quick look at the Web is enough to demonstrate 
> > that).
> You are making assumptions based on what has been and not what can be. 
> If business processes require the data to be maintained in order to 
> continue making money (i.e. there is a direct causal link), it will be. 
> Earlier I gave you an example of such need for maintenace of data based 
> on my previous reseller business. That was serious real world example, 
> and I describe another spin on it below.
> > > 14 characters times every instance. There can be hundreds to 
> > > thousands of instances on the page. It makes creating the markup 
> > > correctly very difficult, and adds needlessly to page size (often 
> > > exceeding Google recommendations for parsable documents.)
> > 
> > Could you show me an example of such a page?
> Certainly.  The following is some of the research I did when discussing 
> "currency" microformat on uf-discuss (I have more if you need it):
> The list is of very large price lists from the web. Some are in PDF 
> and/or XLS formats, but I would argue one of the things Microformats 
> will hopefully encourage would be the publishing of these more things in 
> HTML so they could be processed by machines instead of XLS and PDF 
> (except of course in the latter case where the content is best in PDF 
> format.)
> As I have mentioned before, I ran an catalog/internet retailer that sold 
> software development tools to software developers for 12 years.  One of 
> the best things Microsoft could have done for us was to have published 
> their product and price lists in a well known location with documented 
> parsability.  Sure we could find them in their ever changing locations 
> and we could download the Excel files but we didn't have the skill to 
> parse the info out reliability so we never did it.  I can't tell you 
> just how valuable it would have been for us if they had just published 
> in an HTML format with something like Microformats. It would have saved 
> us literally tens of thousands of dollars over the years.
> BTW, publishing it as lots of lists would have made it much harder for 
> us to get to it. One file would have been best.  And we'd have 
> downloaded it nightly.
> https://partner.microsoft.com/download/US/40018463
> http://www.oxfordjournals.org/access_purchase/2007/institution_price_list.html
> http://www.oxfordjournals.org/access_purchase/2007/personal_price_list.html
> http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/Springer%20Journals%20Price%20List%202007%20EUR.xls?SGWID=0-0-45-310891-0
> http://www.sagepublications.com/INSTPRICELIST.pdf
> http://www.oceanoptics.com/Products/pricelist102006.pdf
> http://www.hhhh.org/cloister/pricelists/current-magic
> http://support.dialog.com/pricing/dialogselect/dsel_prices.pdf
> http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/cservices/pricelist.pdf
> http://www.wiley-vch.de/pdf/Wiley_Pricelist_2007.pdf
> http://www.softwarespectrum.com/microsoft/Advisor/docs/EA_Perpetual_Listed_US_PriceList.xls
> http://www.smalldog.com/SmallDogPriceList.txt
> > > > What's wrong with:
> > > >    $54.97 (USD)
> > > 
> > > Uh, no metadata?
> > 
> > What metadata is missing? The currency and amount are both present. 
> > What more do you need?
> This was discussed ad-nauseum on uf-discuss.  Ironically, I argued what 
> you argued, but was overruled. Here's one place where some of the 
> discussions where captured: 
> http://microformats.org/wiki/currency-brainstorming
> If you need more, see: http://microformats.org/wiki/currency-examples 
> and http://microformats.org/wiki/currency
> Also, look for "currency" on 
> http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2006-October/thread.html

I've looked at the above, but I really don't know what to do about it. I 
don't think the Web needs a <price> element really, there just doesn't 
seem to be a good use for it at the moment. I recommend we wait and see 
what happens with the Currency Microformat.

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

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