Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Big Picture on Microformats

The use of microformats ...

"Most web developers who read magazines such as Digital Web will be familiar with the term microformats, and might even have played around with hCards or tags. In fact, way back in November 2005, Digital Web was among the first to address this subject, publishing a great introduction by Garrett Dimon.

Few really dispute the potential of microformats, but all technologies, no matter their promise, live and die by their adoption. So, how are microformats faring a year or so after their coming-out party? Since microformats are markup, their impact is less obvious than, say, AJAX—whose dynamic visual effects are usually a bit of a giveaway. It may come as a surprise, then, that the level of adoption by tool developers, publishers, and aggregators is significant, and that you probably visit sites with microformatted content all the time, without even knowing it. In this article, we’ll review what people are doing with microformats right now, and finish up by looking at a couple of cool projects that might whet your appetite for microformats’ future prospects.

Chicken and Egg
I occasionally wonder who bought the first fax machine—what a remarkable act of faith. The fax illustrates an important phenomenon associated with many technologies—the network effect—where the value of a technology increases the more it is used. In trying to climb the slippery pole of the network effect, new technologies often face a chicken-or-egg moment. With microformats, content developers may ask, “If there are no services that take advantage of microformatted data, why should I use microformats?” Service developers may similarly ask, “If there is no microformatted data, why should I develop services in the hope it may one day be available?” As I’m about to demonstrate, microformats have passed this chicken-or-egg moment in a number of areas."   (Continued via Digital Web Magazine)   [Usability Resources]

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