On Sunday dev wizards Eric Meyer and Tantek Celik both gave excellent presentations about emergent semantics and more meaningful markup. Basically the idea is to define a microformat by extending existant XHTML code in order to give that code and the content of the page more meaning. Some of the examples used were XFN (metrolling), hCalendar, hCard and VoteLinks. I think these microformats are pretty cool but the real blockbuster for me is the idea of microformats in itself. The idea that we can start giving emergent definition to any and all content at the core level of the markup is very elegant and powerful. I'm definitely going to try to work this concept into some of my projects. Full notes of both panels after the jump.
how semantics can be added to the web now
es is a fancy way of saying ground-up semantics or grass roots semantics or bottom-up
nobody acts as director, es are ad-hoc and evolving over time
lowercase semantic web
define a microformat(technorati developer's wiki) to solve a specific problem
use existant (xhtml) structures to express semantics
use or leverage existing standards that aren't immediately expressible in XHTML
It is key that these microformats are human-understandable
"human first, computer second"
Why take this approach?
Middlebury College built concrete paths over footpaths that students had made through the grass.
"Pave the cow paths"
lowercase semantic web is akin to evolution
uppercase SW is akin to intelligent design
Who can do this?
identify a fairly narrow problem and develop a simple solution
a profile at a stabile URI will help a lot
creative commons link annotation rel="license"
XHTML Friends Network (XFN) Metrolling rel="met"
publish a list of each person with links
ping rubhub.com with your URL
why is this important?
to signal authenticity
building a rudimentary trust network (whuffie)
fight comment spam and fraud
solve an immediate problem in ad-hoc ways
keep the solution simple
"open source" everything so that others can use and buile on your work
new solutions just might emerge from the microformat you've created
use of XFN's me value can bring pieces of an identity together
ways to cross breed and mutate
cross XFN with VoteLinks
figure out what a social network likes/dislikes
cross XFN with hCalendar
find out what a social network is doing at any given time
cross hcalendar with a music-categorization or geo categorization system
who's playing where
engines are starting to recognize certain rel values
collection of links to microformatted pages
The Elements of Meaningful XHTML - Tantek Celik
For Meaning not show
strict not transitional
avoid <b> <br/> <i>
<h1> means most important not big and bold
<em> make this italic
<div> & <span> last resort (neither subtract nor add to the doc)
Simple Contact Info
<cite> the author & <blockquote> the actual quote elements <blockquote cite="URL">
XHTML Compound: Block of Code
<pre> and <code> combined
XHTML Compound: Conversation
ordered list blockquote & line item cite
1. Understand the elements
Web Standards Solutions - Cederholm (simplequizzes)
3. Experiment w/ combinations
4. Discuss with Peers
Why Extend XHTML?
"lowercase semantic web"
What can you extend?
rel and profile
How should you extend?
Avoid doing it excessively or unnecessarily
Methodology - have good reason why you should or shouldn't
Microformats - http://developers.technorati.com/wiki/MicroFormats
Technorati Developer Wiki
solves a specific problem
evolutionary improvements (emergent)
as simple as possible
adapt to current behaviors
presntable and parsable
reuse rather than invent
modularity / embeddability
decentralized development of content and services
MF Design principles
build on XHTML
humans first, machines second
reuse the schemas from well supported standards
reuse semantic XHTML building blocks
use class names when necessary
XMDP - http://gmpg.org/xmdp/
XHTML Meta Data profiles
use xhtml to extend itself
Microformat: Linked License
like a linked style sheet
Microformats: Social relationships
see Eric Meyer notes
People are URLs
blogrolls are a social network
reuse properties value & schema of vCard
hCard 1:1 HTML version of vCard
reuse properties value & schema
hCalendar 1:1 HTML
XOXO - extensible Open XHTML Outlines
presentation is an outline
in a presentation
S5 (Eric Meyer)
S5 + XOXO
Final note: This is the ultimate confluence of hot SXSW topics.