Category Archives: Microformats

Semantic Web: How would it happen?

Yesterday at DevCamp, one interesting session was about Semantic Web and skepticism around it. I listened different perspectives. I realized, some part of discussion was around:

  • How to make web more semantic?
  • Does annotating all data (existing or future) using microformats, rdf, etc make sense?
  • Should we really need to annotate everything ourselves?
  • What about non-technical users who use/contribute-to web?
  • What about smart algorithms/tools that can make meaning out of existing web without us doing much?

I have been advocating/using microformats for sometime, which is totally useful but above questions also make sense? Yesterday’s discussion made me think more about it and I started finding about different perspectives/realities. I found an informative article series on ReadWriteWeb.

Let’s help some web more structured, as said in readwriteweb article above, by tagging, annotating, etc as much as we can. We can also spread the word. Most importantly, we developers can write smart tools that can capture and expose the data in structured-way. Every bit helps and that’s what I said in yesterday’s discussion, the idea is to make things better. Sooner or later, we would have a perfect web, well there is nothing perfect but you got what I mean :-)
BTW! If you want to feel how tools/user-experience would get better with Semantic Web, Check out of Adaptive Blue extensions (BlueOrganizer and SmartLinks) to browser (s). These tools recognize data/object/information in a web-page and provide you very contextualized choices (action items). They are doing things using existing, mostly unstructured web, imagine – how things would be structured web i.e. semantic-web?
You can explore it but let me give a simple example. Suppose you are reading movie review of Transformers on IMDB. Adaptive Blue tool would deduct about director, movie-name, casts, etc and provide you relevant choices/options like:-

  • add to twitter, bookmark, delicious, facebook, etc
  • comparisons from various sources
  • Transformers pages on wikipedia, amazon, netflix, etc
  • Rent from netflix, etc
  • Michael Bay (the director of the movie)’s movies on amazon, images on flickr, blogs on google, etc
  • list of stars and related links

There are so many contextualized choices, I don’t want to list all of them. However, you can see the screenshot and check out the extensions.
I am wondering, is it something that can cause privacy concern? If they are collecting page-info on their server?
Update (Feb 11, 2008): Reuters has announced OpenCalais service API, which analyzes the data (text, html, xml), processes it to a semantic content by returning RDF/XML and also stores the processed data in it’s server for future searches, it can be disabled via API params. You can check out this sample app.
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Google Social Graph API shows the power of microformats

XFN (XHTML Friends Network) is one of the microformats, I have been using for sometime. I have used (where)whenever I can.
XFN goes more interesting and would become more popular with Google’s Social Graph API .
Google Social Graph API allows you to find all such social connections using XFN and FOAF. Thousands of pages/feeds already have XFN and FOAF data.
There are XFN Graphing tools/libraries but Google provides the similar thing in the form of webservice (API), which takes different parameters and returns JSON as output.
This is going to push XFN microformat usage and I am already seeing the effect, some of my friends/acquaintances have edited links on their blogs/pages to add XFN data, so am I doing now :-)
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Microformats: Interesting presentations

Alex Faaborg of Mozilla UI Design team gave an amazing presentation on Microformats at Web 2.0 Expo.

Please check it out, it’s really cool. You can download the slides (PDF-144 pages, 54.8 MB)

You can also check out the presentation by John Allsopp (author of Microformats: Empowering Your Markup for Web 2.0). I got a slideshare version of the same, embedded right here:-

Download above slides (PDF).

Twitter adds support for Microformats

Twitter has added support hCard, hAtom and XFN Microformats. I noticed about it via Chris Messina‘s post.

Microformats are cool, I am reading and quietly noticing thing about it on web/mailing-lists. I have slowly started adopting, wherever I can, f.ex. this blog would have some of them soon.

If you are interested about Microformats, check out these links:-

I would be posting more about Microformats, now onwards. I would love to adopt, contribute and evangelize. Thanks for community to creating such a simple technology (Microformats) which can be adopted in existing work without any change, yeah you need to have to semantic-html.

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