In these days we turn for the answers to our questions to the Internet. Sometimes we even refer to it as the wisdom of the crowd.
Take IMDB for example. It is a centralized solution. When it comes to the reviews they are written by the people. But who owns these reviews? Are they real? Can we trust them? Google is the answer to all our prayers. Or as a big sign in front of one church said “Google does not have the answers to all questions.”
We saw the raise of open source. Then we also had a raise of open standards for document formats. They are getting more popular and also more important. The next step will be the open data. Standardizing the data format will also allow for more mashups. Very popular type of mashup these days is the combination of maps and some other proprietary data. If two people publish the data in two different formats, none of them can make use of the other.
Web has evolved. The move is from HTML to XHTML. The benefits are such as that microformats are simple data formats, HTML based, based on existing standards and existing development practices. To mention a few, there is hCard (based on vCard), hCalendar (based on iCal), hReview, hListing- for classfields, hResume and many more.
I also discovered that there are some Firefox extensions that discover microformats on the page and allow the user to see them. One that is worth mentioning is Tails.
Where to do from here? We all publish data on the web. More microformatted data we publish more options of their usage will be present.
More information about microformats can be found at microformats.org, microformatique.com. Read about how to highlight microformats with CSS. New book on microformats by John Allsopp will be coming out in early 2007.