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March 9th, 2007 at 4:00am — Rating: Firefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox no pointFirefox no pointLink

Microformats seem to be the big rage lately. Microformats provide a quick and easy way for someone to view and optionally extract data from a site to include into an external application such as Outlook or a calendar application.

WebCards is the latest extension added to the Microformats list. After reviewing Operator+ a while back, it seems that Microformat extensions seem to be whetting the appetite of Firefox users before (we hope!) it's integrated into version 3, which is to be released later this year.

WebCards didn't install as easy as I thought it would. You need to download the extension and then add it manually.

After restarting Firefox, I was ready to start testing out the extension and writing about it, but before I did that, I wanted to grab my Fireday template and start writing a draft in my Google Notebook. I headed over to Google Notebook and noticed no entries. Hmmm...maybe this was Google's way of telling everyone that they were doing maintenance on the site. I figured I'd come back later.

I went over to 103 Bees to check my site stats. The format was a little weird. I started to notice a little trend. I uninstalled the WebCards extension and went back to Google Notebook and 103 Bees. Everything was back to normal. It was the WebCards extension that was causing the problems. After further investigation, the problem stems from a hidden DIV that is added to the webpage when loaded. It must conflict with some of the CSS IDs on the page?

After installing the extension again, the signature for the extension is the Microformats icon in the bottom right hand corner of the status bar. It's temporarily grayed out until it detects a microformat on a page. I went to the Microformats.org web site and, sure enough, WebCards detected a microformat and the microformat icon lit up. Mouse over the icon and you'll be presented with a list of the formats detected on the page. Click on one  to explore the details of that entry.

WebCards has a snazzy interface when it finds a Microformat on a site. It is definitely "web 2.0"-styled and provides an easy way for you to view the details of microformats on a web page.

I think the idea of a CSS DIV attached to a web page needs re-evaluated. This is the only drawback to this extension. Modifying a web page to accommodate an extension isn't quite the way I like to browse.

However, if a solution is found soon, WebCards will give everyone a slick intro into the way microformats will be used in the future.