Microformats Made Simple aims to teach you about microformats, what they are, the benefits of usage, and how they can be used in your website (X)HTML. The book starts with an introduction that includes a description of the history of microformats and their design patterns. Subsequently, each of the main microformats, and several draft microformats, are explained in their own chapters. Each section describes the advantages of using the microformat, its properties and syntax, the mark-up you might use, and how the microformat is applied to several (X)HTML examples. The book is clearly written in a conversational tone and it’s ideal if you are new to microfomats or even if you have dabbled with them (like me). After reading the book, I feel that I am much better equipped to identify and publish microformatted data in my websites.
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Coming up on this blog is a review of Microformats Made Simple by Emily Lewis. You’ll have to wait a bit longer for the review but the book gives a really clear explanation of different microformats and why you should use them in your mark-up. Google and other search engines are starting to use them more and more (for example, Introducing Rich Snippets) so now might be the time to learn how they can be used and why they are a good thing.
Despite the potential advantages, the widespread usage of microformats in blogs and websites will partly depend on tools that allow their easy inclusion. Writing in code view is all well and good but it’s not for everybody. Some systems (for example, Perch and Microformats) do provide methods for their inclusion but these need setting up beforehand. In database systems/websites, the same applies. The template or database is set-up so that multiple records have microfomatted patterns and class names added ‘behind the scenes’. Creating systems that do this automatically is probably the only way that Joe Public blog or website author will be able to edit/create microformatted articles and posts. If you know other examples, let me know…
There's a great article on Digital Web Magazine called APIs and Mashups For The Rest Of Us by Gareth Rushgrove. The article explains what an API is and how websites uses these extensively nowadays. Mashups are described and the use of microformats as an API is explained [see also Can Your Website be Your API?].
I'm already looking forward to part 2 of APIs and Mashups For The Rest Of Us.
Here's a cool use of microformats. Jeremy Keith has posted a video demo that shows how you can transfer microformatted event information from a webpage to a mobile phone with one click. The process uses a bluetooth version of the Tails plug-in for Firefox. Neat.
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