How Microformats Relate to the Semantic Web

By | October 31, 2007

Interesting article about the Semantic Web written by James Simmons about RDF VS Microformats.

Before some quotes from the article, some really basic information about Microformats:
Microformats Diagram

Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns

Here we understand that Microformats are to be an evolution of the web and not a revolution.

[…]The primary advantage Microformats offer over RDF (including its embedded serializations) is that you can embed metadata directly in the XHTML, reducing the amount of markup you need to write[…]

[…]What Microformats were not intended to be:

  • A new language
  • Infinitely extensible and open-ended
  • An attempt to get everyone to change their behavior and rewrite their tools
  • A whole new approach that throws away what already works today
  • A panacea for all taxonomies, ontologies, and other such abstractions
  • Defining the whole world, or even just boiling the ocean

What RDF allows (and Microformats lacks):

  • Resources are represented as URIs, allowing you to access metadata remotely
  • Infinitely extensible and open-ended design
  • A powerful Ontology language (OWL) that is built upon it
  • The ability to utilize, share, and extend any number of vocabularies
  • No reliance on pre-defined “formats” (i.e. not limited by the types of data that can be encoded)


[…]Microformats are to RDF as HTML 5 is to XHTML; on the surface they both appear to be a solution to the same problem, but the former misses the point as to why the latter was created.[…]

Who use Microformats on his website? An old Firefox extension allows you to handle Microformats tag on a web page and perform customizable actions on the microformats via Tails Scripts.
I guess it is time that I insert Microformats on my website… Do you use it? Why? How?


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5 thoughts on “How Microformats Relate to the Semantic Web

  1. James

    Thank you!

    The owner of the other site has contacted me and we worked out the appropriate attribution, so there is no bad blood.



  2. Pingback: Open Ideas Sharing » Blog Archive » More links on Open Social Network (Microformats & openID)