On open letter to Blogger

bloggerformatsWith Blogger in the throes of a new beta cycle, it seems the ideal moment to get support into one of the more popular blogging platforms on the web.

With that goal in mind, I sent an open request letter to the Blogger-Help discussion group. No responses yet, but if you’re interested in seeing this happen, please follow up in whatever way you think might be most effective… tanks!


Not sure to whom I should address this request, but I’m very excited about the Blogger Beta and that it represents an open opportunity to add support for microformatted content.

You can read more about microformats at microformats.org, but to summarize, microformats are community-developed standards for identifying certain kinds of information in webpages using your typical HTML tags and classes.

In particular, this is my wishlist of microformats that I would love to see Blogger support:

  • : okay, you already took care of this one, so kudos!
  • XFN: WordPress already supports this, and it’s especially useful for representing lists of friends in blogrolls.
  • rel-me: from the XFN family, being able to link to other pages on the web using rel=”me” creates an informal means of “claiming” other places where I publish online. Read about Ma.gnolia’s addition of rel-me.
  • : marking up personal profiles in hcard means that if I add personal contact details, people can click a link to add me to their address book without any extra typing. I’ve done this on my main blog. Clicking the “Add me to your address book” link will convert the HTML content in that page into a .vcf file that most address book programs can recognize.
  • : In order to make it easy for my readers to add events that I’ve blogged about to their calendars (Google Calendar or others, like iCal), I can use hcalendar to mark up this information with a link to add the events to their calendar. Here’s an example.
  • hAtom: This one is fairly simple to implement since you’re already classing most of this information already. hAtom uses element names from Atom as class names. This allows people to subscribe to blogs directly, without the need to subscribe to RSS. You can read more about this.

Though the benefits may not seem immediately obvious to supporting microformats, the amount of effort required to add support is fairly minimal compared with other, more substantial features that you’re probably already working on. Furthermore, our community would be happy to help with the process of adding support to Blogger, validating your work and providing guidance along the way. This initiative is also not a commercial effort; rather, it represents the work of a large, distributed, worldwide community that wants to build out the value of the “lowercase semantic web” and to make data storage in web pages a reality.

In some respects, we are at a chicken-and-egg crossroads but the more support that we see for microformats in the wild, the more tool makers, publishers, browsers and other applications will reap the benefits of this effort to essentially modernize the web, incrementally building upon the existing infrastructure.

Thanks for your consideration and please let me know if there is any way that I can be of service.


Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: Molly.com (YC W18), Uber, Google.

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