Saturday, January 14, 2006

More on Microformats

Don't let the tone of my last post fool you, the Emerging Tech SIG meeting on Microformats was not a waste of time. My problem is that I know what Microformats are, or at least I know what I want them to be, and I am frustrated that they not being presented in a way that is clear and comprehensible to everybody. Microformats are a good thing, and a good clear story will help their broad adoption more than anything else.

Apart from that I took away a couple of ideas of note. Because a Microformat is both human and machine readable, there is only one copy of the information. As a good database person, I know that duplicated data is dangerous. Previous attempts to achieve the same goals as Microformats had the information in a human readable format and the same information repeated in metadata on the same page. This immediately leads to a data quality problem as the software readable form cannot be easily proof read and quickly diverges from the human readable copy as the page is edited.

In this context, the acronym DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) was used. I keep hearing this acronym, particularly at the Emerging Tech SIG. Perhaps it is the battlecry of the Noughties.

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