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  • Jan 9 2012

    Moving towards Microformats for more Semantic Web

    There is constant demand to write semantic code for a website for it attaches more meaning to the pages and helps search engines to better understand the web pages. Though there are several ways of accomplishing this but Microformats seem to have occupied the centre stage and are increasingly being used to create a meaningful markup. The primary advantage of using Microformats is that they help develop structured data which is easy to understand by search engines and aid their indexing process.

    However, before proceeding further to discuss the benefits of using Microformats, let us first have a quick understanding about them.

    What are Microformats?

    Microformats are a set of simple formats that helps create effective metadata and thus enhance the semantic value of a code.

    The widely acclaimed definition of Microformats from microformats.org states:

    Designed for humans first and machines second, Microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.”

    The best feature of Microformats is that they can be easily integrated into the existing XHTML mark up and prove beneficial in describing the web content accurately and in a consistent manner.

    How do Microformats enhance semantic value?

    Though HTML and XHTML do provide elements to lend semantic meaning to web page content but Microformats are able to do it more effectively by using the following attributes:

    • Class
    • Rel
    • Rev

    Why use Microformats?

    Adherence to standards

    As web standards compliance is necessary for a website, Microformats are built keeping this in mind and thus will ensure that code adheres to existing standards.

    Ensure Inter-operability

    Using Microformats will ensure that the site is viewable in different browsers, operating systems as well as mobile devices.

    Flexibility

    Microformats allow the desired flexibility to the users to control and share data over the Web.

    Adaptability

    Microformats are highly adaptable to the existing behaviors and web usage patterns that ease out the tasks for site owners

    Search Engine Friendliness

    As Microformats create machine readable and more meaningful metadata, it lends search engine friendliness to the site

    Consistent Content

    With the ability to share a Microformat with content providers, it becomes possible to create consistent content and in the manner as desired

    Meant for Future Web

    As the emphasis to have semantic mark up gains more prominence, the use of Microformats is going to increase making it ideal for the future Web

    Though it offers these advantages, there are also some drawbacks associated with Microformats including:

    • They add on the to the HTML markup
    • Though they are easy to use but the user still has to devote time learning to make the proper use
    • All browsers may not show full support for Microformats

    Some Useful Microformats

    Geo – For marking geographic location

    hCalendar – used to mark events and calendar

    hCard – useful for representing personal and business contacts

    rel=”nofollow” – Elemental Microformat that adds no-follow attribute to links

    VoteLinks – allows liking or disliking a link

    Robot Exclusion Profile – provides page-specific direction to web crawlers

    For more Microformats, you can visit http://microformats.org/wiki/Main_Page.

     

    So, creating a well structured and semantic mark up is no longer a trouble as Microformats provide the right help. We hope that you liked the above information. Kindly provide some more suggestions.

    Posted by Charu Garg Posted in: web standards Comments: 1