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Hi Lobsters,

I’m working on a project to index logic puzzles across the web, such as those that I post at maybepuzzles.com. It seems microformats could be a neat way to help mark these up to make the indexing easier and more precise, but I’m a bit unclear on the current status there, and whether I should just do my own thing. I was hoping some of you might have some advice.

  • microformats.org seems a bit stale, with the last blog articles and events in 2018. Are microformats dead? Is it a good idea to engage with the community and/or standardization process, or better to just do my own thing?

  • How well do class-based microformats work in practice? (I.e., I might mark up the graphic to a puzzle with <img class="puzzle-graphic" ...> I see I can edit the HTML on my wordpress site to add such classes, but is this generally an option on the various blogging platforms? To make this useful beyond my own blog, it should be possible for people to use without hosting their blog themselves.

  • Any better alternatives to allow authors to add explicit metadata? My other thought was to let authors add a link <a href="https://some-puzzle-domain/?type=sudoku&author=name&..."><img></a> around the puzzle graphic and extract such links to identify puzzles.

(I’ll end up writing some more generic heuristics based scraper anyway, but having something more precise available would be great as a starting point.)

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    I’m using microformats2 on my blog. They are easy to implement and by using other integrations such as https://brid.gy, I’m getting a lot of benefit from it.

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      I have a small recipe website that parses recipe data out of about 50 of the most popular cooking websites. Each site has its own parser, but they share code whenever possible. Microformats really help in this regard!

      Over the last 8 or 9 years I’ve had to update the parsers as the bulk of these sites adopted various microformats, migrated the various microformats they used to those from schema.org, and finally over the past few years started removing microformats entirely.

      It does feel like the movement to adopt microformats has lost steam, which is really a shame.

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        Hmm, interesting. So schema.org is a Google-backed thing where you put itemtype, itemprop on the HTML elements, compared to microformats using HTML classes. Seems maybe harder for non-technical users to add to their posts. On wordpress.com, I’ve found I can add custom classes, not sure yet whether itemprop is possible by editing the HTML directly. Thanks!

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          Yeah, probably a bit harder for folks who aren’t used to editing a lot of HTML. As a developer, though, it’s nice to use classes only for styling so that you don’t break your microformats accidentally when you are changing presentation.

          You can also test your microformats, though, which would be a good idea I suppose.