Getting people to agree on one way of describing a concept is difficult – in fact, it has been nearly impossible. XML has failed to achieve one of it’s goals in a big way. It has not created widely adopted ways of describing “things”. Most XML language projects get so horribly bloated that they don’t get wide-spread acceptance. This is a problem, because computers really like having one, simple way of defining something.
Microformats deal with solving very small, very specific data markup problems. By reducing a problem to its simplest form, it becomes easy to describe meaning to computers. An added bonus in Microformats is that this meaning can be described using HTML – which is the presentation format of choice for the Web.
Microformats allow a website author to:
- Write a web page for humans
- Associate meaning in that web page for computers
- Use HTML to accomplish this task
Those three things make Microformats a very powerful tool – we can now write one document that has meaning to both humans and computers. We can now make web browsers more correctly identify the types of content on a web page.
At a high level, Microformats help us write re-usable methods of identifying concepts, such as people, places, and music on a web page. Tiny Microformats can be assembled into bigger Microformats, which can then be made into larger formats. They are the building blocks of “meaning” for computers.
It starts to get really interesting when we start looking at how Bitmunk is going to use Microformats…