Monday 16 August 2004

XFN 1.1 arrives

GOT FRIENDS? THEN get XFN 1.1 savvy! The XHTML Friends Network has expanded to contain new relationship values which includes me. And anything that includes me has got to be good, right?

XFN, for those unfamiliar, is a means of defining relationships within links. It’s being developed by Eric Meyer, Tantek Çelik, and Matt Mullenweg – a dream team if ever oh ever a dream team there was.

So how does it work? I can describe my relationships with Eric, Tantek, and Matt as all being friends, colleagues, and people I’ve met. So every time I link to them individually, I can include that information within each link as follows:

<a href="" 
rel="friend colleague met">Visit Eric</a>
<a href="" 
rel="friend colleague met">Visit Tantek</a>
<a href="" 
rel="friend colleague met">Visit Matt</a>

XFN is being implemented in a growing number of blogging tools and blogrolls. WordPress, for example, has an XFN interface for your links and blogrolls. also has an XFN interface, too.

With XFN 1.1 comes a few new values. Along with the me value (used when you reference yourself in the context of your social networks), you can also choose to use contact, which is a nice way to describe a professional contact that might not yet be an aquaintance, colleague, or friend, and kin which provides a means of including family members who are related by blood or through your spousal relationship(s).

Spouse, by the way, is defined by the good folks developing XFN as referring to:

“. . . a person to whom you feel yourself to be married, whether legally or not. The use of spouse should be symmetric. A spouse could also be considered a romantic value, however, we concluded that a major difference between spouse and the other romantic values is that a spouse is considered to be part of a family, whereas this is not typically true for the other romantic values. Also, though typically a 1:1 relationship, some localities, cultures (and subcultures) permit and encourage one to many spousal relationships. We leave such complexities up to individual choice and judgment.”

This was something I’d missed upon review of XFN 1.1 and asked Tantek about because for so many people, marriage is self-defined or defined differently. Tantek pointed me to the background doc, which helps explain the values in greater detail.

Be sure to drop by the XFN 1.1 announcement page and cruise the site for more details. Even better: Get started using XFN today.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 13:57 | Comments (8)

Comments (8)

  1. stupid wanna-be standard.

  2. They took an awfully long time to say “marriage can be anything.”

  3. Interesting, but with scary possibilities once you start to add something like OWL and aspects of the Semantic Web. Then, you could mine for all the people I know, my connections and how they’re interrelated. TMI

  4. Flump: Not sure I get your point. XFN merely takes an existing portion of HTML and expands it.

    Opie: 🙂 Yeah, but I for one am glad the time was taken to explain what the relationships meant.

    Yvonne: Sure, there are always scary possibilities. I was talking about the Semantic Web at InterLab last fall (InterLab is a gathering of webmasters from US Department of Energy laboratories like Los Alamos, Sandia, PNNL – just a few of the scarier places on planet earth). A woman from Sandia Labs asked “But isn’t that potentially dangerous?”

    Oh, the irony.

    Technology in and of itself has no inherent good or evil. We’re the ones with the responsibility to determine how to use it. Will information be used for bad? Always – that’s just a manifestation of the fact that a percentage of people will do bad things in this world.

    But technology and information can be used for great good. Social Networks have the potential to create the foundation for many positive things in the world: Distribute knowledge, provide community to isolated individuals, even help to feed and clothe impoverished people – it all depends upon how we use the networks and our relationships with each other.

  5. I am not afraid. I am using it. Fear me.

  6. Pingback: Journal

  7. Sounds retarded.

  8. Well XFN is all well and good, as are rubhub and that neat XFNGraph tool, but now I have all these outgoing links to blogs I read and no-one linking back to me 🙁

    Are Tantek et al. coming up with a means by which one can obtain friends?

    – Nick.

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