Microformats are the most recent aspect of the Web 2.0 phenomenon that I’ve been researching. From what I can tell, microformats simply refer to the regular encoding or presentation of data elements within HTML content, for easy consumption by sensitive consumer software (or sites). There are a couple of dominant ones: hcard for contacts, hCalendar for events, hAtom for feeds, and so on. In the context of the semantic web, this imbues our existing web content with the ability to act as repositories of data that can be readily transformed using intermediate microformat-aware parsers into alternate views, or combined with other sources to provide improved analyses. I am particularly keen on the idea of using microformat-laden data against the Yahoo Pipes service. Unfortunately, Pipes does not have a microformat-aware module (yet), so I’ve put together a work-around that makes use of a microformat-to_RSS converter as a source of data for Pipes. Of course, as of today, this is merely a proof-of-concept, but I can see this as being a significant jump in tyeing together various web properties into a more closely connected Web. A further interesting development is the inclusion of microformat data in results from popular search engines; e.g., Google Maps and Yahoo Local return locations as a microformat embedded contact list within the results of a search. Unfortunately, my Pipes parser doesn’t seem to be able to detect microformat data in Google or Yahoo streams – I probably have to do some more work on it.
I’ve included some of the links I perused on this stuff below:
The Operator Firefox Extension (by Michael Kaply)
suda.co.uk/projects [X2V]
Thoughts and comments are welcome!