Sunday, June 25, 2006

Liveclipboard copy beyond microformats -- unapi 1.0 released

Dan Chudnov recently released unAPI version 1. Here I particularly want to compare unAPI with microformats in liveclipboard implementation.

The MS liveclipboard demo is based on microformats, essentially, the demo uses some smart javascripts to copy XHTML page between different web pages. In principle, the technology can be used to copy any XML fragment, or even binary files if you consider base64 encoding.

Microformats is well suited for this purpose because its XHTML fragments are well-formatted XML. However, there are many applications/domains are not covered by microformats: (a) not all contents can be described by XHTML, such as tremendous XML standard/contents in the web, or many non-HTML content in the web. (b) even a content can be described by XHTML, it may never reach the radar of, or never have enough incentives to make them standard.

So here I think unapi can fill a gap, because it allows copy of any content, far beyond the scope of, from initial implementation of unapi we saw mods, dc, json, pubmed, rdf, text, and we can expect more diversified formats in the future. All these formats may eventually become payload of liveclipboard, and the application is up to your imagination.

On the other side, the approach of unAPI is more complex than microformats. In microformats you can simply markup an XHTML page and it's all done. In unAPI one have to markup an XHTML page and implement a simple API. And the little tradeoff can be worthwhile if we want to take full advantage of liveclipboard.


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