I have been reading a lot about microformats recently to try and get a better understanding of them, their benefits and how they affect web standards. I’ve talked a little about them in the past but I wanted to delve more into detail.

The basic idea of microformats is to design a standard XHTML template for common items – for example a hcalendar for events. That template is then the standard for all items of that type. Since all of those items share common elements – in the hcalendar example a h3 with class = summary would be the event description – they are easily able to be encoded into XML and can be aggregated. So sites or programs could aggregate sites using microformats and parse them into easily understandable and standard (hence web standards) displays.

It opens the doors to easily sharing contact information, events, resumes and people relationships with friends, family or even across the web. There are even, already, some microformat plugins for WordPress and noted blogger and CSS expert Eric Meyer uses them for both his tags and his blog watch. I definitely need to track down a rel-tag plug-in to start getting indexed in Technorati – any suggestions?

I realized I’ve only scratched the surface here. With that in mind I’m going to forgo my usual random tidbit and list some links to sites I found filled with microformats information. Before I do, note that already there have been concerns about identity theft with things like hCards and hResumes so there are many bugs to yet be worked out. It’s a powerful tool though with lots of possibility.

For more microformats information check out the following or my microformats tag on del.icio.us: