The right place for data in your feed - 0xDECAFBAD Blog talks about Microformats in syndication. It's a subject that is close to Marc Canter's heart as well as he evangelises microcontent.

There's something that bothers me though about both Decafbad's article and the main article on Technorati. Neither of them really address the issue of getting implementations ot happen of each new format. This is something that really hit me last year when being involved in FOAF. It's all very well coming up with a neat new metadata standard but without implementations at both ends (publisher *and* subscriber) it's just academic wanking. What tends to happen here is that the standard comes first, then we get some reference example data. But we never get the application that consumes it. Even when the data is all in RDF (it's all triples, man) and the data is readable into your vast triple store, you still need the understanding of what the data means to do anything useful with it and present it in UI to some human. The net result is that the vast majority of these microformats (and even some of the big names like FOAF) remain "Write-Only Data".

So here's some advice for potential standard architects. To get your standard implemented, you need
1) A written non-ambiguous doc in the style of an RFC with lots of examples
2) Example Apps and proofs of concept for both the publisher and the subscriber that answers a real need
3) Toolkit libraries in all the major languages and environments. perl *and* php. Java *and* C#
4) A community of evangelists who go out and spread the word and put effort into persuading likely publishers and subscribers to support your new standard.

Of all these, 2) is the most important. and regarding 3) I don't care how clever your Ruby, Java or Python toolkit is, the world uses perl and php. If you can't support those you're never going to get widespread adoption. And ignoring C# because MS is evil is a bad idea. It's hard to get those MS-heads involved but they are finally waking up to the existence of the non-MS world. And there's an awful lot of them and an awful lot of potential customers using MS Win XP.

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[ 07-May-05 8:50am ] [ , ]