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McNeill (2007) Microformats Process
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McNeill (2007) Microformats Process


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  • 1. Microformats Process Jeff McNeill 2007
  • 2. Disclaimer
    • The following is my current interpretation
    • I make no claims of authority or even accuracy
    • For the real deal, refer directly to http ://
  • 3. Process overview
    • Get experience with microformats
    • Determine what problem to solve
      • Is there a simpler problem to solve?
      • Did someone else already solve the problem?
    • Post to microformats-new list with brief description of the problem to be solved
      • Begin this conversation early
    • Collect public, real-world examples
    • Derrive format reusing existing microformats and patterns as possible
  • 4. Process stages problem statement proposal/ draft standard research/ discussion problem area wiki pages proposal wiki pages -new email list discussion
  • 5. Problem area discussion wiki pages
    • *-examples Find examples on today's web of the the type of content you think needs a microformat. Document them with URLs. Document the schemas implied by the content examples. This is the action that helps follow principle 3, design for humans first, machines second ... adapt to current behaviors and usage patterns. Start by cloning the examples page and filling it out.
    • *-formats Find widely adopted interoperable current data formats and standards that attempt to or have attempted to solve the problem previously. Document their explicit schemas. This is necessary prerequisite for following through with principle 4, "reuse building blocks from widely adopted standards".
    • *-brainstorming Use the current real-world web examples and their implicit schemas to determine an 80/20 as-simple-as-possible (principle 2) generic schema to represent their data. Yes, this means you will explicitly omit some features of some use cases, or perhaps entire use cases which are more edge-cases than representative of larger, aggregate/macro behaviors. See which existing microformats can be reused as building blocks (principle 5, modularity). Use those existing data formats and schemas as a source of names for the fields (principle 4). Consider how would you embed this microformat in other formats (also principle 5, embeddability). See the brainstorming page for a bit more info.With an 80/20 schema, and a source of field names, write up one or more straw proposals for a microformat in the *-brainstorming page. Make sure the straw proposals encourage the decentralized distribution of data (principle 6). Postpone the choice of root class name as it often overlaps with the naming of the microformat itself. Always keep close at hand the microformats naming principles when choosing names.
    • Reference
  • 6. Proposal discussion wiki pages
    • Brainstorming about the substance of the microformat (its properties and values) should precede naming the microformat itself. Thus after proposals have been written up and are being discussed for the schema, create a naming section for the microformat itself and root class name, where various names can be considered.
    • ** When it seems like there is some amount of consensus around one of the straw proposals for a microformat with a specific name( ** ), write it up as a separate wiki page as a draft specification, and then start creating the following pages to track it.
    • **-faq There will likely be common questions about the new microformat which can/should be answered in an FAQ page.
    • **-issues Folks may also raise issues about the microformat which aren't immediately addressable. An issues document helps serves to capture these issues, who raised them, and when, so that folks working on the microformat can be sure to go through and thoroughly answer them.
    • **-examples Eventually there may be too many real world examples of a microformat to document them in an informative section at the end of the specification, thus the list deserves its own page.
    • **-implementations Eventually there may be too many implementations of a microformat to document them in an informative section at the end of the specification, thus the list deserves its own page.
    • **-brainstorming Eventually there will be non-trivial proposals/suggestions/clarifications for changes in the microformats as part of iteration. Create such a format specific brainstorming page for such suggestions.
    • Reference
  • 7. When a new microformat is not needed
    • Is there Is there a standard element in XHTML that would work?
    • Is there a compound of XHTML elements that would work?
    • Are there other microformats that work?
  • 8. Do you really want to be semantic?
    • Strict (not transitional)
    • Not for display
    • Avoid <b> <br/> <i> <sub> <sup>
    • Things don’t mean what we think they do!
      • <h1> != BIG
      • <blockquote> != indent
      • <em> != italic
    • Reference