Definitions and Design Goals of Microformats

This is the current official definition of microformats from

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

Many other definitions of microformats have been proposed, some of which I find more illuminating. This is the definition on the site:[307]

Microformats can be defined as: simple conventions for embedding semantic markup for a specific problem domain in ­human-­readable (X)HTML/XML documents, Atom/RSS feeds, and “plain” XML that normalize existing content usage patterns using brief, descriptive class names often based on existing interoperable standards to enable decentralized development of resources, tools, and services.

Out of this definition, I would emphasize the following points:

It’s important to know about the intentional limitations built into microformats before criticizing them. From the list of things that microformats are not at ?about/, I will highlight a few. Microformats are not the following:

Keep those limitations in mind when we compare microformats to specifications such as RDFa, which are aimed to be highly generalizable.

Because microformats involve both design philosophies and concrete formats (which you can use whether or not you subscribe to the microformats design philosophy), it’s easy to just ignore the philosophy. So if you want to just use the work of the microformats community, is this philosophy relevant? Probably—since there are a lot of design decisions that are hard to understand without knowing that philosophy.

Finally, with so many other ways to already get event data, what does having the microformat contribute to the mix? Well, there are at least two advantages:

In both cases, there is no need to make an extra call to the API to get this desired information about the event.