I quite genuinely don’t understand the point of microformats. Not only do I not understand why, but I don’t understand who they’re for, or how they’re supposed to be used.
I understand attention.xml slightly better, and it’s a nice idea that aggregators should be able to standardize on a format for indicating
such information as, the last time the feed/post was accessed, the duration of time spent on the feed/post, recent times of feed/post access, user set (dis)approval of posts, etc. but I just don’t understand the decision to use HTML.
I think this is possibly also my problem with microformats in general. If they were in an arbitrary XML language, people would be looking at things like hCard, hCalendar and hReview decrying them as redundant, and point at existing XML formats for these things. I don’t see why putting them in HTML makes them any more relevant. In the same way, I don’t understand why attention.xml would be in HTML instead of by a strictly defined XML schema or even, Lord help us, OPML (the format, not the application).
The one benefit I can see is that they’re instantly displayable on a webpage, but quite frankly, so what? Is this the magic that I’m not getting? (yes, I’ve read “Can your website be your API?”). Maybe I’d understand it better if everyone was serving up completely valid XHTML and we could query webpages for inline reviews etc. using XPath, but they’re not, and this isn’t likely to ever change.
I understand structuredblogging.org slightly better, and I can understand both why, and who, even though I don’t have a copy of WordPress running for me to actually use the plugin they provide. It also makes more sense to me. This is how I’d serve up my data, XML alongside, or embedded within my webpage.