Archive of "Introduction"

Archive for the "Introduction" Category

hCard Presentation

Posted on

Roger Costello has created a nice introductory S5 presentation (more on S5) for hCards.

hCards, among other things, are a building block of hAtom.

To the Confused

Posted on

Dear Confused Reader,

You are reading this because much of the Geekery to come out of the Singpolyma – Technical Blog confuses you. The code is far beyond your comprehension, and sometimes so are the instructions. You are the one who emails me your template to hack, instead of hacking it yourself. That’s OK, and I’m willing to help, but in case you wanted to try doing a little bit more yourself….

Hoctro, another brilliant hacker, has written a sort of 101 (or is that 411?) post on hacking your blog, or at least following the instructions to do so. Complete with screenshots illustrating his points, this article will help you understand not only my writings, but those of other Blogger Hackers, forever.



Read Hoctro’s Post (Blogger BETA Only)

Other template-related posts by Hoctro

What is a Reading List?

Posted on

A reading list is the organised list of all feeds that a person reads using their feed reader. There are two primary file formats for reading lists, XOXO and OPML (see What is XOXO?). Reading lists are popularly used as an import/export format for moving subscriptions between feed readers. If they are made available online they can also be used as dynamic reading lists.

Dynamic reading lists are reading lists that are aggregated by a feed reader. One folder or module is always updated to contain the most current subscriptions from the reading list. This allows users to subscribe to other users’ reading lists to see what other’s are reading, for example. Directory sites like Share Your OPML (which, as the name indicates, is anti-XOXO) also allow users to share their subscriptions en masse.

Feed readers currently supporting the dynamic reading list concept are:

Dynamic reading lists can be previewed or included as a widget in a webpage using Grazr. Grazr currently only supports OPML, but XOXO is on the todo list.

If you know of any other programs that support dynamic reading lists or other interesting uses for reading lists, please leave a comment below.

If you have any suggestions on how this introduction to reading lists could be clarified, please leave a comment below.

How Can XOXO Be Used?

Posted on

XOXO is the most abstract and extensible of all the microformats. While what it can be used for certainly is not infinite, and there are some things it should not be used for, it can certainly be used for a great many varying applications. This post intends to be a discussion of some examples of such use cases.

No Available Microformat
If you want to mark up a part of a webpage in a structured way, either because you feel that a reason for someone wanting to write code to parse the data is probable, or because you wish to write such code yourself, you should first check the microformats list for an existing microformat dealing with your data type. If no suitable microformat exists, XOXO may be the answer. Be careful however, if your particular usage can be generalised into something common across the web that would benefit from standardised markup you may have a candidate for suggesting a new microformat.

XOXO can usually easily be styled using CSS to look the same as a non-XOXO page. This combined with the ease of parsing the format makes it very useful in most cases where data needs to be parseable but there is no existing microformat available. It is reccomended to use ‘standard’ fields (fields not included in the optional DL-list element) wherever possible, however whether or not to use anchor tags when there is no HREF is debateable.

Extending Existing Microformats
XOXO can also be easily used to extend existing microformats. For example, the XOXO Blog Format complies fully with the hAtom microformat, but also adds options for more data to be encapsulated. XOXO is very useful for this because its markup can easily be made to comply with most other microformats, meaning that parsers of the microformat in question will be able to handle it just fine, while XOXO parsers will be able to extract the extra data as well. In addition to this, if the extra data provided by the XOXO extension is stored in ‘Alternate-A fields’, and not in ‘DL-fields’, most microformat parsers can be easily modified to support the extra fields without strict XOXO compliance.

When not to use XOXO
There are a couple reasons not to use XOXO to mark up your data.

  1. If there is an existing microformat that will serve your purpose as it is (check the microformats list)
  2. If your use case qualifies for the creation of a new microformat

What Is XOXO?

Posted on

XOXO is a microformat for the storage and transmission of outline data. Outline data is any nested list information, where you have nodes with subnodes. The specification is similar in purpose to OPML, but has many advantages over that format, including :

  • XOXO can be embedded completely within any XHTML document. Since XOXO is really a subset of XHTML, it is 100% XHTML-compatible. It can be stored as an independant document, but this is not a requirement as it is with OPML.
  • XOXO has predefined fields for common uses. Unlike OPML where all fields are optional/arbitrary and up to individual implementations, XOXO has standardized markup for TEXT, TITLE, HREF, REL, REV, TYPE, and CLASS attributes. One may argue that feed readers have standardized some OPML elements (xmlUrl, for example), however this is not even wholly true (some feed readers use the rssUrl element instead).
  • XOXO can be viewed directly in a webbrowser without any need for extra stylesheets
  • XOXO can be used to make up the actual content of web pages so that those pages are nice to view, but are also easily read by other applications/scripts

For conveniance, XOXO is still fully extendable, with the ability to contain any number of arbitrary fields.

For more information, see the official XOXO specification and the official XOXO-faq.