Microformats on Opera sites
Sunday, June 10, 2007 4:06:41 PM
Thanks to Fred and Michael we've now added support for Microformats on the My Opera and Dev Opera sites (the changes to Dev haven't been published yet at the time of writing). Both sites now support the rel-tag microformat, and hCard (coming soon in My Opera). Dev Opera also supports rel-licence so search engines can use this information to know what licence the articles are provided under. My Opera also supports hCalender for events (They were called countdowns), xFolk, and will support XFN and any other appropriate Microformat.
Microformats are a way of creating new formats that can be marked-up using existing content and technologies, so that they can be used today without having to wait for user agent support. They use the class or rel attribute to define semantic names for the content that needs to be marked up. Microformats such as hCard and hCalendar take their naming schemes from existing standards, vCard and iCal respectively. This makes it trivial to convert between the two formats, and through this parsing and conversion the information can be extracted from the page and added to any application that supports those formats. AddressBook and iCal (the Apple application, not the standard) are examples of applications that use these standards.
One of the great things about Microformats is that they enable some of the promise of the semantic web, without the complexity of technologies like OWL ontologies and RDF. There is also nothing stopping microformats being converted into a real ontology to be used by those advanced technologies. Many major sites, such as Yahoo!, are already using Microformats, so content is already starting to become the new API. Other sites and services can take advantage of this structured data and make use of it in innovative and exiting ways. The combination of Microformats and OpenID is particularly exiting for me, and is something that I think will drive the semantic web forward.