Are you still writing your articles as simple plain text? There is a hidden trend going on which is not obvious by looking at a page but which allows your content to be spread in a much more qualified way then the good old plain text. Use microformats as hidden structure in your content.
What are microformats? Luckily we have a nice website for that. Microformats.org explain in in their Wiki: microformat. Every Microformat is simple and an element of meaningful XHTML. Everybody should be able to handle these little creatures 🙂
Setting up a new site without a microformat concept might be a bad idea!
John Allsopp has published a nice article about The Big Picture on Microformats:
Few really dispute the potential of microformats, but all technologies, no matter their promise, live and die by their adoption. So, how are microformats faring a year or so after their coming-out party? Since microformats are markup, their impact is less obvious than, say, AJAX—whose dynamic visual effects are usually a bit of a giveaway.
He gives a qualified status overview about how microformats are developing and what they are used for. Like the Technorati tag search which checks and indexes web pages for links with the markup rel=”tag” (which you can add i.e. with Performancing for Firefox to your article) and more.
But he goes further. John recommends to use microformats because they will enable your content to travel to new sorts of aggregation services independently. You, the author, will not have to submit your data to the new sites. Instead the new services will come and fetch your data contained in the microformats like rel-tag, rel-license, XFN, hCalendar, hReview, hListing or hCard.
Let’s practise …
How to create that mysterious microformat?
One big question is always how the microformats should be created. As a first step there is Microformats.org who offer web forms to create the entries for you
hCard Creator, hCalendar Creator, and hReview Creator allow you to develop complex microformats – simply enter the necessary information into a web form, and then paste the output right into your source code.
Having an existing blog or CMS system means that you should do a search for a plug-in which will help you create the microformats you need. If you are doing reviews i.e. you should add reviews to your page in the hReview microformat. If you don’t find a plug-in then you still can create your own article form template for this (Textpattern speak) or insert the code directly into your editor form.
Example microformat hReview code created with the hReview tool from Microformats.org:
Sep 4, 2006 by
????? Performancing .com delivers a free and very powerful statistics package, a so called 'counter', with the name PMetrics to monitor the traffic on your blog or website. The outstanding feature is that data is kept on the performancing.com servers 'forever' and that this feature is free of costs for you.
And so on and so on ...
hReview brought to you by the
Note: I added a rel=”tag” microformat to the link inside the review. The review URL is linked to the original PMetrics start URL but it can of course link elsewhere i.e. your article page or homepage. As I understand it you can put any content you like into that description.
This will look like this (not sure what p.com makes of it :). I only had to add the abbreviation for the rating:
Sep 4, 2006 by
Very recommended Performancing .com delivers a free and very powerful statistics package, a so called ‘counter’, with the name PMetrics to monitor the traffic on your blog or website. The outstanding feature is that data is kept on the performancing.com servers ‘forever’ and that this feature is free of costs for you.
And so on and so on …
hReview brought to you by the
That markup is very easy to design with CSS and every service understanding this microformat hReview is now able to take that review and put it into a database in pieces and not only as a.chunk of plain text.
Working with a classical Blog/CMS it means to create an article template from this code structure where all contents will be variables introduced to you by a plug-in or through custom fields.
In Textpattern I would use custom fields and overwrite the default article form with a review form (or any other microformat template). The titles of the custom fields should mirror the relating multiple hWhatever content if you use more than only one hWhatever microformat.
If you are afraid that bad people rip your valuable content from your site then you can do the same as with RSS … simply put an excerpt into class=”description”and insert a “read more …” link.
Microformats – Interesting for you?
Technorati Tags: microformats, tagging, structure, promotion
powered by performancing firefox
Sorry, I have no specific answer for MT but in general it should work like the following description:
The first step is to find out which microformats you want to use.
After that you should create your personal microformat which fits into your layout.
Make that a text form template and fill it by hand. More advanced would be to fill it through database variables (i.e. for lists of hCards or hReviews).
Then copy the source code into your article.
That’s definitely a way to have ‘well formed’ and ‘well designed’ microformats for your site.
If you plan only to publish a single microformat as a single article then you should design an article form/template which will create a microformat article from your article input fields. Problem here is that it is not easy to do bulk changes if you are not database savvy with your solution.
All plugins I have seen so far don’t give you the freedom of design which you definitely want to have.
Does anyone have advice on how to create Microformats for MovableType?
I have just found a plug-in for Textpattern which promises to cover many microformats by adding some additional user interface to the administrative content section.
Plug-in homepage and documentation: Textpattern Microformats Plugin [pnh_mf]
Textpattern forum thread: plugin:pnh_mf – microformat tags plugin
I will install and test it in a minute …