I'm an organizer with a sometimes frustrating need to pay attention to the smallest details.
It shows itself in my home: my DVD collection of over 500 is organized alphabetically, as is what's left of my CD collection. I spend hours in iTunes assigning genres (because the defaults just aren't good enough for me) and creating playlists for over 10k songs. My books are organized by genre. My dresser drawers and closets are pristine. It is just me.
This personality "quirk" also shows itself in my web design work, which is valid, semantic and well-commented (most of the time). And it is one of the reasons I love what I do for a living.
Hand-coding XHTML and CSS requires organization and planning, especially to do it well. Even more, following web standards in this coding requires an even greater level of attention to detail, particularly regarding semantics.
Which is why I go gaga for microformats.
What Are Microformats?
In short, microformats are simple, open data formats that are built on existing standards for markup and data. Designers and developers use microformats to add structure and meaning to web publishing by adding metadata and other attributes to existing (X)HTML elements.
What Do They Look Like?
A simple example of a microformat (though they are all, by nature, simple) is the
rel attribute for links (
<a href="http://www.ablognotlimited.com" rel="home">A Blog Not Limited</a>
The above link markup includes
rel="home", which indicates the linked page is the homepage of the site. This adds a bit more structure and meaning to the link with existing markup and attributes.
So Then, What's This Article About?
Since starting development on A Blog Not Limited, I've identified a number of microformats that I wanted to use in my markup:
In the interest of sharing, I wanted to provide examples of these personal implementations. However, as I wrote this article, I realized it was much longer than I had originally expected. But I didn't really want to get rid of anything.
So, I decided to break it up into a brief series of articles about how I've implemented microformats on this blog. This introductory article is just that: an introduction to the series with a bit of background on microformats.
What to Expect
Each article in my Getting Semantic With Microformats series will cover a microformat I chose to use on A Blog Not Limited.
I will include markup samples, explanations of the elements and attributes used, and benefits of using each microformat.
I don't have a planned schedule for the articles, but I hope to publish at least one per week.
So, What's Next?
Getting Semantic With Microformats, Part 1 will detail the microformats for link-based relationships, including rel-home, rel-me, rel-tag and rel-license.
Part 1 is already 95% complete, so I will be publishing it soon. Until then …