All in the <head> – Ponderings and code by Drew McLellan –

The Clangers' Guide to Microformats

I had the pleasure of being able to attend Oxford Geek Night 7 last month to present a five minute microslot called The Clangers’ Guide to Microformats. There’s not much you can cover in just five minutes, but my aim was to give a brief overview of the concept of microformats to those who may not yet be familiar with them.

The Clangers was a BBC television children’s programme made in the late 1960s and early ’70s which remained in heavy rotation right through to when I was growing up in the 1980s. These little pink crocheted space creatures would communicate in a rhythmic series of whistles, which would give us humans enough of the gist to be able to follow along, but didn’t really communicate any detail. My attempt was to liken this to how we communicate our content in HTML, which has enough semantics to give us rhythm and intonation, but none of the detail. Microformats, of course, provide that detail.

The Clangers Guide to Microformats from drewm on Vimeo.

The slides aren’t amazingly inspiring, but I’ve also put those up on Slideshare in case that’s of any interest to you. As always, the Oxford Geek Night was great fun and I’ll really recommend it if Oxford is within reaching distance.

The next event I’m speaking at is Geek in the Park 2008 in Leamington Spa on 9th August. Jon Hicks will be giving an introduction to icon design, and I’ll be presenting on the subject of “What Brian Cant Never Taught You About Metadata”. As you may guess, I’ll be talking a lot about microformats, but also about meta data in general, how it’s useful and can be used, and the importance of avoiding dark data. It should be a fun event, and hopefully I’ll see some of you there.

I should also mention that we have a few places left on our July CSS training course in a couple of weeks time. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and learning this stuff properly, or find that you just need to refresh and formalise what you already know, this could be just the time to do it. Liam Dempsey came along the last time we ran the course and wrote up a nice review – (thanks Liam!).