Simon Willison’s Weblog


Mark goes XFML

5th December 2002

Mark Pilgrim has discovered XFML. He provides an excellent description of the standard, but fails to mention XFML’s most powerful ability; sharing metadata. Here’s how it works:

  1. You find another site with similar topics to you that publishes their data in XFML.
  2. You set up your XFML software (for the moment you’ll have to write your own, but this will change soon) to grab their map once per specified-time-period.
  3. In your XFML map, you use the connect element to link topics on your map to identical / very similar topics on their map. For example, you might have a topic called “Cats” while they have one called “Felines”. The meaning is the same, so create a link between them.
  4. Whenever they publish something in that topic on their site, your software will be able to automatically link to it as “related reading” on your site.

This is just the tip of the iceberg—apply the creative global mindset that is the blogging community and who knows what will happen :) In the meantime, marvel at Dive Into Accessibility as rendered by FacetMap, working from the XFML document provided here. Dive Into Accessibility is a great example of faceted navigation and a perfect example of XFML in action.

This is Mark goes XFML by Simon Willison, posted on 5th December 2002.

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