microformat (sometimes abbreviated μF ) is a world wide web-based method that uses HTML / XHTML tags for other purposes to convey additional metadata [1] and other attributes in web pages and other contexts that support (X) HTML , such as RSS . This approach Allows software to process information Intended for end-users (Such as contact details , geographic coordinates , calendar events, and similar information) automatically.

ALTHOUGH the content of web pages has-been able of some “automated processing” since the inception of the web, Such processing is difficulty Because The markup tags used to display information on the web do not describe what the information means clustering. [2] Microformats can bridge this gap by attaching semantics , and thus obviate other, more complicated, methods of automated processing, such as natural language processing or screen scraping . The use, processing, and processing of microformats for the purpose of data retrieval, searched for, or cross-referenced data, so that information can be reused or combined. [2]

As of 2013 microformats allow the encoding and extraction of event details, contact information, social relations and similar information.


Microformats emerged around 2005 [3] as part of a grassroots movement to make recognizable data items (such as events, contact details or geographical locations) capable of automated processing by software, as directly readable by end-users. [2] [4] Link-based microformats emerged first. These include votes that express opinions of the linked page, which search engines can tally into instant polls. [5]

CommerceNet , a nonprofit organization that promotes e-commerce on the Internet, and encourages the microformats community in various ways. [5] CommerceNet also helped co-found the Microformats.org community site. [5]

Neither CommerceNet nor Microformats.org operates as a standard body . The microformats community functions through an open wiki , a mailing list, and an Internet relay chat ( IRC ) channel. [5] Most of the existing microformats originated at the Microformats.org wiki and the associated mailing list citation needed ] by a process of gathering examples of web-publishing behavior, then codifying it. Some other microformats (such as rel = nofollow and unAPI ) have been proposed, or developed, elsewhere.

Technical overview

XHTML and HTML standards allow for the embedding and encoding of semantics within the attributes of markup tags . Microformats take advantage of these standards by the presence of metadata using the following attributes:

relationship, description of the target address in an anchor-element ( <a href=... rel=...>...</a>)
reverse relationship, description of the referenced document (in one case, otherwise deprecated in microformats [6] )

For example, in the text “The birds roosted at 52.48 , -1.89 ” is a peer of numbers which can be understood, from their context, to be a set of geographic coordinates . With wrapping in spans (or other HTML elements) with specific class names (in this case geolatitudeand longitude, all part of the geo microformat specification):

The birds roosted at
 <span class = "geo" >
 <span class = "latitude" > 52.48 </ span> ,
 <span class = "longitude" > -1.89 </ span>
 </ span>

software agents can exactly represent each value and can then perform a variety of tasks such as indexing, locating it on a map and exporting it to a GPS device.


In this example, the contact information is presented as follows:

 <li> Joe Doe </ li>
 <li> The Example Company </ li>
 <li> 604-555-1234 </ li>
 <li> <a href = "http://example.com/ " > http://example.com/ </a> </ li>
 </ ul>

With hCard microformat markup, which becomes:

 <ul class = "vcard" >
 <li class = "fn" > Joe Doe </ li>
 <li class = "org" > The Example Company </ li>
 <li class = "tel" > 604-555-1234 </ li>
 <li> <a href= class= "url" "http://example.com/"> http://example.com/ </a> </ li> </ ul>

Here, the formatted name ( fn), organization ( org), telephone number ( tel), and web address ( url) have been identified using a specific class names and the whole thing is wrapped in class="vcard", which indicates that the other classes form an hCard (short for “HTML vCard “) and are not simply coincidentally named. Other, optional, hCard classes also exist. Software, such as browser plug-ins, can now extract information, and transfer it to other applications, such as an address book.

In-context examples

For examples of microformats on live pages, see HCard # Live example and Geo (microformat) #Usage .

Specific microformats

Several microformats have been developed to provide information. However, only hCard and hCalendar have been ratified, the others remaining as drafts:

  • hAtom (superseded by h-entry and h-feed ) – for marking up Atom feeds from within standard HTML
  • hCalendar – for events
  • hCard – for contact information; includes:
    • adr – for postal addresses
    • geo – for geographical coordinates ( latitude , longitude )
  • hMedia – for audio / video content [7] [8]
  • hAudio – for audio content
  • hNews – for news content
  • hProduct – for products
  • hRecipe – for recipes and foodstuffs.
  • hResume – for resumes or CVs
  • hReview – for reviews
  • rel- directory – for distributed directory creation and inclusion [9]
  • rel-enclosure – for multimedia attachments to web pages [10]
  • rel-license – specification of copyright license [11]
  • rel- nofollow , an attempt to Discourage happy third-party spam (eg spam in blogs )
  • rel- tag – for decentralized tagging ( Folksonomy ) [12]
  • xFolk – for tagged links
  • XHTML Friends Network (XFN) – for social relationships
  • XOXO – for lists and outlines


Using microformats within HTML code provides additional formatting and semantic data that can use applications. For example, applications such as web crawlers can collect data about on-line resources, or desktop applications such as e-mail clients or scheduling software can compile details. The use of microformats can also be used to get Google Maps to visualize them spatially.

Several browser extensions, such as Operator for Firefox and Oomph for Internet Explorer , provide the ability to detect microformats within an HTML document. When hCard or hCalendar are involved, such browsers allow microformats to be exported into compatible formats with contact management and calendar utilities, such as Microsoft Outlook . When dealing with geographical coordinates, they allow the location to be such applications as Google Maps . Yahoo! Query Language can be used to extract microformats from web pages. [13] On 12 May 2009 Googlethey would be parsing the hCard, hReview and hProduct microformats, and using them to populate search result pages. [14] hCalendar for events [15] and hRecipe for cookery recipes. [15] Similarly, microformats are also processed by Bing [16] and Yahoo! . [17] Together, these are the world’s top three search engines. [18]

Microsoft said they needed to incorporate Microformats into upcoming projects, [19] and other software companies.

Alex Faaborg summarizes the arguments for putting the responsibility for microformat user interfaces in the web browser rather than making more complicated HTML: [20]

  • Only the web browser knows what applications are accessible to the user and what the user’s preferences are
  • It does not matter if they do not have the markup and not handle “appearance” or “action” issues
  • Retains backwards compatibility with web browsers that do not support microformats
  • The web browser presents a single point of entry to the web to the user’s computer, which simplifies security issues


Various commentators have offered a review and discussion on the principles and practical aspects of microformats. Microformats have been compared to other approaches that seek to serve the same or similar purpose. [21] From time to time, there is one comment, or all, microformats. [21] The spread and use of microformats has been advocated. [22] [23] Opera Software CTO and CSS creator Håkon Wium Lie Said in 2005 “We will see a bunch of aussi microformats Developed being white, and that’s how the semantic web will be built, I believe.” [24]However, in August 2008 Toby Inkster, author of the “Swignition” (formerly “Cognition”) microformat parsing service, pointed out that new microformat specifications had been published since 2005. [25]

Design principles

Computer scientist and entrepreneur Rohit Khare Stated That reduce, reuse, and recycle is “shorthand for Several design principles” that motivated the development and practices behind microformats. [5] : 71-72 These aspects can be summarized as follows:

  • Reduce: favor the simplest solutions and focus attention on specific problems;
  • Reuse: work from experience and examples of current practice;
  • Recycle: encourages modularity and the ability to embed, valid XHTML can be reused in blog posts, RSS feeds, and anywhere else you can access the web. [5]


Because Some microformats make use of title attribute of HTML’s <abbr>element to conceal machine readable data (PARTICULARLY dates, times and geographical coordinates) in the ” abbr design pattern “, the plain text glad of the element is not accessible to screen readers That expand abbreviations. [26] In June 2008 the BBC announced that it would be dropping microformats using the abbrdesign pattern because of accessibility concerns. [27]

Comparison with alternative approaches

Microformats are not the only solution for providing “more intelligent data” on the web; alternative approaches are used and under development. For example, the use of XML markup and the standards of the Semantic Web are cited as alternative approaches. [5] These are not necessarily coincidental with the design principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”, at least not to the extent. [5]

One advocate of microformats, Tantek Çelik , characterized by alternative approaches:

Here’s a new language we want you to learn, It’s a hassle. (Microformats) lower the barrier to entry. [2]

For some applications the use of other approaches may be valid. If the type of data is not present to an existing microformat, RDF can not embed arbitrary vocabularies into HTML, such as for example domain-specific scientific data as such or not for microformat. Standards such as W3C’s GRDDL allow microformats to be converted into data compatible with the Semantic Web. [28]

Another advocate of microformats, Ryan King, put the compatibility of microformats with other

Microformats provide an easy way for many people to contribute semantic data to the web. With GRDDL all of that data is made available for RDF Semantic Web tools. Microformats and GRDDL can work together to build a better web.[28]

Microformats 2[edit]

Microformats2 was proposed and discussed during FOOEast, 2010-05-02[29]. Microformats2 was intended to make it easier for authors to publish microformats and for developers to consume them, while remaining backwards compatible[30]

Using microformats2, the example above would be marked up as:

The birds roosted at
 <span class="h-geo geo">
 <span class="p-latitude latitude">52.48</span>,
 <span class="p-longitude longitude">-1.89</span>


 <ul class = "h-card vcard" >
 <li class = "p-name fn" > Joe Doe </ li>
 <li class = "p-org org > " The Example Company </ li>
 <li class = "p-such as" > 604-555-1234 </ li>
 <li> <a href= class= "u-url url" "http://example.com/"> http://example.com/ </a> </ li> </ ul>

See also

  • COinS
  • Embedded RDF
  • Intelligent agents
  • RDFa Lite
  • S5 (file format)
  • Schema.org
  • Simple HTML Ontology Extensions
  • XMDP


  1. Jump up^ “Class Names Across All Microformats” . Microformats.org . 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2008-09-06 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:d “What’s Next Big Thing on the Web? It May Be a Small, Simple Thing – Microformats” . Knowledge @ Wharton . Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania . 2005-07-27.
  3. Jump up^ Themicroformatsis a community-standard maintained by its Wiki, andthe Wiki arrived ~ 2005.
  4. Jump up^ In this context, the definition of “end-user” includes a person reading a web page or a mobile device, or anassistive technologysuch as ascreen reader.
  5. ^ Jump up to:h Khare, Rohit (January-February 2006). “Microformats: The Next Thing on the Semantic Web?” . IEEE Internet Computing . IEEE Computer Society . 10 (1): 68-75. doi : 10.1109 / MIC.2006.13 . Retrieved 2008-09-06 .
  6. Jump up^ ” ” rel “attribute frequently asked questions” . Microformats.org . 2008-08-06 . Retrieved 2008-09-06 .
  7. Jump up^ hMedia · Microformats Wiki
  8. Jump up^ Ultimate Guide to Microformats: Reference and Examples
  9. Jump up^ rel-directory · Microformats Wiki
  10. Jump up^ rel = “enclosure” · Microformats Wiki
  11. Jump up^ rel = “license” · Microformats Wiki
  12. Jump up^ rel = “tag” · Microformats Wiki
  13. Jump up^ Heilman, Chris (2009-01-19). “Retrieving and displaying data from Wikipedia with YQL” . Yahoo Developer Network . Yahoo . Retrieved 2009-01-19 .
  14. Jump up^ Goel, Kavi; Ramanathan V. Guha; Othar Hansson (2009-05-12). “Introducing Rich Snippets” . Google Webmaster Central Blog . Google . Retrieved 2009-05-25 .
  15. ^ Jump up to:b Gong Jun; Kosuke Suzuki; Yu Watanabe (2010-04-13). “Better recipes on the web: Introducing recipe rich snippets” . Google . Retrieved 17 March 2011 .
  16. Jump up^ “Bing Introducing Schema.org: Bing, Google and Yahoo Unite to Build the Web of Objects – Blog Search – Site Blogs – Bing Community” . Bing . 2011-06-02 . Retrieved 2 June 2011 .
  17. Jump up^ “Introducing schema.org: A Collaboration on Structured Data” . 2011-06-02 . Retrieved 2 June 2011 .
  18. Jump up^ “Top 5 Search Engines from Oct to Dec 10 | StatCounter Global Stats” . StatCounter . Retrieved 17 January 2011 .
  19. Jump up^ “Bill Gates at Mix06 -” We need microformats ” ” . 2006-03-20 . Retrieved 2008-09-06 . We need microformats to get people to agree on them. It’s going to bootstrap exchanging data on the Web … … we need them for things like contact cards, events, directions …
  20. Jump up^ Microformats – Part 4: The User Interface of Microformat Detection «Alex Faaborg
  21. ^ Jump up to:b “Criticism” . Microformats.org . 2007-03-24 . Retrieved 2007-08-15 .
  22. Jump up^ “Advocacy” . Microformats.org . 2008-08-27 . Retrieved 2007-08-15 .
  23. Jump up^ “Spread Microformats” . Microformats.org . 2008-08-29 . Retrieved 2007-08-15 . This includes community resources for marketing microformats such as buttons, banners, wallpaper / desktop screens, logo graphics, and more.
  24. Jump up^ Holzschlag, Molly E. (2005-03-31). “Interview with Håkon Wium Lie” . Molly.com . Retrieved 2007-11-18 .
  25. Jump up^ Inkster, Toby A. (2008-04-22). “More than three years” . Microformats.org . Retrieved 2008-08-24 .
  26. Jump up^ Craig, James (2007-04-27). “hAccessibility” . Web Standards Project . Retrieved 2007-08-16 .
  27. Jump up^ Smethurst, Michael (2008-06-23). “Removing Microformats from bbc.co.uk/programmes” . BBC . Retrieved 2008-08-24 .
  28. ^ Jump up to:b “W3C GRDDL Recommendation Bridges HTML / Microformats and the Semantic Web” . XML Coverpages . OASIS . 2007-09-13 . Retrieved 2007-11-23 .
  29. Jump up^ “microformats 2.0 discussion” . 2010-05-02.
  30. Jump up^ “microformats2” .