The Importance of Microformats in Web 2.0

Using Microformats

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Microformats are quickly becoming a THE way to share information between different applications. 2007 should be named the year of the microformats.

As more and more people try to share similar data between extremely diverse applications, they are quickly realizing the importance of having standards for exchanging information. The Web 2.0 craze has driven a number of microformats, or miniature standards, for a number of types of information.

Mostly, microformats are a way of adding semantics to programming. If you are a blog reader and have seen "Tags" or "Categories" for specific posts, you have probably seen microformats in action.

Now while there are still many people trying to decide if microformats are going to really take off (we already know how poorly people have followed so-called "standards" on the web), there are a number of people that truly believe these mini standards will help increase the efficiency of transferring information between applications .

Much in the same way that operating systems currently associate particular file types with specific applications, future Web browsers are likely going to associate semantically marked up data you encounter on the Web with specific applications, either on your system or online. This means the contact information you see on a Web site will be associated with your favorite contacts application, events will be associated with your favorite calendar application, locations will be associated with your favorite mapping application, phone numbers will be associated with your favorite VOIP application, etc.

The faster that people can embrace these types of standards the sooner the web will truly become and interactive source of information. It will also help relieve some of the stress of programmers that have to deal with trying to get all of the different proprietary data structures to talk to one another. (Just go try to get Outlook Express, Outlook, and Thunderbird to talk nice and you'll know what I'm talking about.)

For more information about specific microformat structures, visit