Working with microformats and microdata

Hidden Meaning


Programs aren’t as smart as humans when it comes to interpreting the meaning of web information. If you want to maximize your search rank, you might want to dress up your HTML documents with microformats and microdata.

HTML lets you mark up sections of text as headings, body text, hyperlinks, and other web page elements. However, these definitions have nothing to do with the meaning of the data: Does the text refer to a person, an organization, a product, or an event? Microformats and their successor, microdata make the meaning a bit more clear by pointing to business cards, product descriptions, offers, and event data in a machine-readable way. In this article, I describe some important microformats, such as hCard, hCal, hProduct, hReview, and Geo. You’ll also get an introduction to microdata, and you’ll learn about some open source tools for integrating awareness of microformats and microdata into your own programs.