[Mix06] Microformats Autodiscovery

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It is unfortunate that I haven’t been able to blog much about the Mix06 conference so far, as there is so much worth writing about. Unfortunately I have acquired a bad cold on top of a splitting headache that will not go away. Such is the price one pays when partying with the hard charging Microsofties (particularly with such Indigo team members such as Steve Maine and Clemens Vasters).

When I get a chance, I will write more, but I wanted to drop a note in here about Microformats. With Bill Gates on stage saying that “We Need Microformats”, there is a pretty good chance that Microformats are here to stay.

I attended a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session on Structured Blogging and Microformats with Tantek Çelik and Marc Canter

I asked a question on whether or not there is an autodiscovery story for Microformats. Consider how an aggregator finds an RSS feed for a site. In general, the aggregator scrapes the HTML looking for a several common indicators of an RSS feed. Ideally the web page adds a <link /> tag using the RSS autodiscovery format.

But I am not aware of any such mechanism for discovering my Microformat contacts. Let’s say that I do not want to have all my contacts on my home page. How would an aggregator find my contacts short of spidering my whole site. Tantek’s answer was that they are essentially working on it and there is nothing set yet.

One problem he pointed out is that sites may end up hosting a large number of microformats. Adding an autodiscovery link in the HEAD section of a page for each format supported could get unwieldy. One idea I had would be to work on a “Table of Contents” microformat (I am sure someone else will have a better name) that would serve as an index for where my site hosts certain microformats of interest.

This would be an optional format. For example, for a site that uses very few microformats. The site can make do with autodiscovery links within the HEAD section of the home page. But if the site uses an exceedingly large number of formats, it could have a single autodiscovery link to the page that contains the Table of Contents Microformat. Aggregators would then know where to find specific microformatted information.

Thoughts?

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