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HTML Microformats & Prototype.js

In my time of developing RIA's I've taken many approaches to tackle the same goal. One which I have recently adopted has been proving itself extraordinarily useful so I figured i'd share the concept and see what others think of this approach.

HTML Microformats

The idea of HTML Microformats is to extend the standard of HTML further by using standards in attributes and element orientation. HTML doesn't have many or any recommendations for hierarchy past the body tag, How many of us(web developers) have defined a class named "header" or "footer" for an object that resides at the top or bottom of the page, this is a very minimal microformat.

CSS and Microformats

CSS is a technology which allows us to abstract our style definitions from the HTML markup. This further reinforces the support for microformats, we can have the same HTML Markup looking many different ways by adopting a standard format within the HTML document.

Prototype's DOMExtensions

Prototype now allows us to select a collection of nodes using the same syntax we used to select that collection in CSS. This functionality now allows us to not only abstract style properties but also progromatic behavior. I refer to behavior in the manner of responding to user interaction directly or indirectly, such as draggable behavior.

Start Small

If you get into reading about HTML microformats they're typically discussing big time problems with calendar data or geo data. In my RIA's I typically don't have such a mountain but I can still benefit greatly from using a microformat. If i have many Javascript classes that apply specific behavior to elements that are enforcing a microformat they can collect the necessary sub elements that will activate the behavior.

So make my own standards?

You should spend due diligence to see if other developers have created a standard format for what you're trying to accomplish but for now i think that will be difficult. The adoption of microformats has been pretty stagnant but I think that its adoption can start on the "micro" level, being that developing markup standards for element structures will assist incredibly in application development in a multi-developer project or even on your own and using different libraries that adopt the structure into their algorithms.

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