Introduction to microformats

May 23rd, 2008  |  microformats, web development

Introduction to microformats at the New York Web Standards Meetup Group 22 May 2008 Notes and links from last night's discussion of microformats at the New York Web Standards Meetup Group. Thanks to everyone who made it!

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During the meetup, someone asked if there was a microformats validator. I replied that I wasn't sure, but I believed there was a validator in Operator. It turns out the answer isn't so simple.

From All in the <head> by Drew McLellan:

With microformats, however, we're embedding a dialect inside HTML. Whilst it's easy to spot items that are part of that dialect, it doesn't hold true that anything not recognisable as being of that dialect is an error. To take an example for hCard, I might have an image with a class name of

1
photograph

as part of an hCard block. The official class name from hCard is

1
photo

, but that doesn't mean that a value of

1
photograph

is an error—it's just not something we're looking for.

Operator does not contain a full microformats validator, however it does have a debug mode:

Debug mode provides a number of different options for people developing microformats as well as RDFa and eRDF. A new action is added called "Debug." For microformat developers, this action provides access to the internal representation of the microformat, the HTML source that created the microformats, and for hCards and hCalendars, the vCard/iCalendar representation from both Operator and Brian Suda's X2V. For RDF developers, the debug action provides a representation of the RDF triplets. RDF developers can also access the model when in debug mode.

Another feature of debug mode is that invalid microformats are displayed in the menus. When they are clicked on, they display the same information as standard debug, but provide an additional pane that gives the reason that the microformat was invalid.

Drew McLellan has written a microformats lint tool: rel-lint is a bookmarklet that checks the value assigned to the rel attribute of links.

Our next meetup is 26 June 2008. It will feature Adam Detrick (TheStreet.com) presenting "IE Root," a technique using conditional comments to target IE without making extra calls to the server or using CSS hacks, and Jeffrey Barke (theMechanism) discussing what the WAI-ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite) is and how to use it. RSVP

Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.