At Supernova 2005, Rohit Khare and Adam Rifkin from CommerceNet announced the launch of microformats.org. 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 patters (e.g. XHTML, blogging). You might have seen some microformat interest from me in my delicious tag stream, particularly hCalendar.
As I blog this the man behind microformats.org, Tantek Çelik from Technorati, is giving a presentation on microformats. The principles are great: (1) solve a specific problem, (2) simple as possible, with evolutionary improvements, (3) humans first, machines second (presentable and parsable, and adapt to current behaviors), (4) reuse widely adopted standards like semantic (X)HTML, schemas from interoperable RFCs, (5) modularity and extensibility, (6) decentralized development, content, services. Point (4) reminds me of
Rendezvous Bonjour (or, as I’ve heard it called, Bondezvous): unlike alternatives, Rendezvous is built on DNS and adds the bare minimum necessary to achieve its goals. hCalendar similarly builds on existing work, but solves the problems preventing widespread deployment of the prior art. Nat’s recommendation: watch microformats.org closely.