There Is No Cat

A huge orangupoid, which no man can conquer

Monday, March 20, 2006

Inspired by SXSW

SXSW seems to have energized me to add a couple of features to my homegrown blogging CMS, some long planned and others inspired by what I saw there. One of the most interesting sessions I attended there was the one on Microformats. Basically, these are just conventions for XHTML markup to mimic the kind of structured data available in custom XML schemas. Tantek Çelik moderated the session, and his slides are up on the web. The panelists demoed a number of cool hacks based on the concept. I've added support for the hCard microformat here in a couple of places; first, my name in the "Me" section of my right navigation bar is now an hCard. I haven't included anything other than my name and URL in the hCard because I don't really want to expose my address, phone number, or e-mail here on the web. Oh, and there's a picture of me there that's not displayed on the page, but that will show up in anything that consumes the hCard. The second location in which I've implemented hCards is in comments; the information people enter for name and URL are also marked up as an hCard. If you use a tool like Tails, the Firefox extension for microformats, you'll see the hCards on my pages. Obviously, the information in them is incomplete, because I don't ask people to register, verify, or provide too much identifying information, but at least those tools that understand the hCard conventions will understand that the names on my site refer to people rather than just being random words. I don't know that there's a significant use for that in this context at the moment, but I suspect that some day there may be. hCard is really intended for exchanging fuller address book information than I provide here, but I think it can still be useful in providing improved semantics even without all of that information. I think the next thing I do with microformats may be to mark up my resume (currently password protected, but I'll probably open it up in the near future as I start looking for a new job) with hResume.

The second new feature I've added is tagging. Yeah, okay, I'm only a year or two behind the crowd. So sue me. That's one of the joys of writing your own CMS: you get to implement the latest fads yourself. So maybe it takes a little longer. Or a lot longer, in my case. It didn't seem all that important before, but while I was mucking about in the code, I figured I'd add tags. Didn't take long. And tagging is a microformat, too, although I think its development predated the common usage of the term.

The third and final feature is that I've upgraded my Atom feed from the deprecated version 0.3 to 1.0. In the process, I stomped a bug that was causing my feed to have incorrect timestamps on its items, and even to use identical timestamps for items posted on the same day. Oops. That's fixed now. I hope that the tools out there support Atom 1.0; the ones I looked at seem to, but I'm sure there are some laggards. I actually did most of the development work on this several months ago, but held off deploying it to give the feed readers a chance to catch up.

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Posted at 9:32 PM

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This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi.

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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