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Archive: 21 June 2005

microformats.org

Along with many other people, I’ve been talking about microformats over the past several months.  Now they have a home: microformats.org.  It’s primarily a community site, a place where people interested in microformats can congregate and share ideas.  It’s also a central point from which new microformats can be created and advanced.  There are pointers to mailing lists, an IRC channel, a weblog, and more.

If you’re interested in a quick introduction to microformats, I highly recommend the leadoff comment in the weblog.  It’s a great introduction to the what, whys, and wherefores of microformats.  The collection of links it’s carrying around is pretty nice, too.

I don’t know for certain how the whole microformats effort will turn out, but more to the point I don’t feel I have to know.  Right now, the low entry barrier and amount of promise shown by microformats makes them extremely compelling, as I think the information on the new site demonstrates.  To echo Tantek, I’ll let the market decide how they’re used, whether they’re a good idea at all, and what shape they take over the long term.

All I know is that I feel the same way about microformats as I felt about CSS, back when I first encountered it.  My instincts tell me, as they did then, that this is important, that it has almost undreamt potential, that it can change the way we build and use the Web.

Technorati Redesigns

It’s the time for redesigns, I guess—CNN did it over the weekend, and now Technorati has taken its beta design final.  I’m proud to say I had a part in making Technorati’s new look possible.  The graphic design was done by Derek Powazek, and from his graphic comp files I produced the XHTML and CSS.  Then I had to run the Tantek gauntlet; the job wasn’t done until he approved of the code I’d produced.

If you dig under the hood of the new design, you’ll probably find things you’d have done differently.  I’m not going to go into a detailed post-mortem here, but suffice to say that every choice was made within the project’s defined constraints.  So when you see, for example, a bunch of b elements used to create the corners, that approach was the best choice for the project: it best satisfied the concerns and demands of the various people involved.

This is not to say that my choices were the best for other projects with similar design demands but different technical demands.  They aren’t.  At a certain level, there are no canonically right answers.  There may be a whole spectrum of related solutions, where one variation is better for this project and another for that one.  And people like me, despite all their experience and knowledge, don’t always hit the right answer on the first try.  My initial approach to the corners is not what you see in the final markup.

That said, I am pleased with how I combined positioning and sprite-like styling to get the corners to work.  I know each technique has been done before, but I’m not aware of previous combinations of the two.  So that’s definitely a point of pride.  I hope to find time to document the details of this particular corner solution, along with variant approaches.

I’d like to thank Derek and the rest of the Technorati team for letting me be a part of the redesign project, and for giving me a chance to flex my creative and technical muscles.

June 2005
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