Scribble Designs: Web Design Northern Ireland

Operator Firefox Extension Gives Microformats Wings

By gerardmcgarry on 30th December 2006, filed in Web Browsers, Web Design & Standards. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed. Tags: , ,

Finally! I’ve been watching discussions on Microformats avidly over the last year. The debate over microformats seemed to be all very academic, as no tools existed to locate and harness microformat data.

I’ve just discovered the Operator extension for FireFox, which is a plugin to detect and debug microformats on any web page. I’ve tested this on a couple of pages I’m working on, and it’s extremely useful.

You can use Operator to debug your microformats. Holding down the Ctrl key when you select a microformat action will show you the HTML that corresponds to that microformat. In addition, holding down the Shift key when you select a microformat action will display our internal representation of the microformat data.

The difficulty with microformats thus far is that they’re generally invisible to users. To see widespread adoption of the microformat standard, we need to be able to detect instances on a webpage and then be able to do something useful with them. For example, Operator gives us the ability to export vCard information to Outlook (at least that’s how it worked for me).

The one drawback of Operator is that it adds yet another toolbar to Firefox, which has the effect of cluttering the screen and further reducing the viewable area. Perhaps dropping this to the status bar would be a better solution?

Regardless, Operator is hopefully a tentative step forward for the Microformats movement! I haven’t mentioned Tails Export, by the way, because it’s still not compatible with Firefox 2.

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