hCard - Should I Care?

Jan 23, 2010 misc-web
This post is more than 18 months old. Since technology changes too rapidly, this content may be out of date (but that's not always the case). Please remember to verify any technical or programming information with the current release.

So lately, I’ve been looking into the semantic tools available on the web. I want to make sure that my online identity is easily searchable and undeniably accurate. Using semantic tools such as XFN, FOAF and hCard may help me.

I can’t help but seeing some of these and thinking ‘flash in the pan’ though. What I really want to see is a big - or a giant - company come through and make use of these. For example, LiveJournal is exporting FOAF information - but who cares? Where can I actually find value out of that information that was previously consumed? If I search ‘Aaron Saray’ on Google, will my friends show up along the sidebar?

At any rate, I did implement a very basic FOAF RDF file on my home page. I am reluctant to do anything further, however. Like I said, I’m not seeing much value as of yet. However, I did want to look at another alternative, hCard.

What is hCard

hCard is just an expansion on the vCard standard. The website says it has a 1:1 representation of the vCard properties. Plus, it goes further by allowing itself to be embedded into web properties. So basically, its a vCard that I show on my website, right? Isn’t this already what my contact page does? (Yes - but the argument is this is a standardized form so that it can be machine readable - I get it I get it).

Who is using hCard

More and more libraries are using hCard. The number one thing that caught my eye was the possible implementation by drupal (see http://groups.drupal.org/node/1898. Yet, I’m seeing many people put out the information to be consumed, but I’m not seeing many groups actually doing the consuming.

How can I use it?

Well besides looking at the specs, you can use the following two libraries in PHP:


Microformats Parser

So what did you do?

Ok so after all this complaining, I have to admit - I’m still guilty… I implemented it on my contact page :)

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