Only darkness has the power

We've launched an astronomy blog at work. Astronomy news posted by yours truly, among others. Hopefully it will grow into an interesting and informative read.

Continuing my love-hate relationship with microformats, the tags in the blog are marked up using the rel-tag microformat. This means software, such as Operator for Firefox, can recognise the tags and offer links to similarly tagged content on delicious and flickr. Kind of cool in the case of the Perseids, as you can link immediately to photos of the meteors.

Rel-tag, rather bizarrely, uses the linked URL, rather than the linked text, to identify the tag. Movable Type, by default, publishes tag links as links to the MT search script with a rel="tag" attribute: <a rel="tag" href="http://mydomain/mt/mt-search.cgi?tag=something&blogID=1">something</a>. The upshot of this is that MT, by default, tags your blog posts with the tag mt-search.cgi, according to the rel-tag spec. For the microformat to work, your links have to be something along the lines of http://mydomain/tags/something. For instance, the tag links in our blog are now rewritten as http://www.nmm.ac.uk/rog/tag/perseids.

Rewriting the links requires editting the MT blog templates, and reconfiguring your web server to map the new URLs to the URL of the MT search script. Have a look at cleaning up your tag links for details.

I do wonder, though, how many people will want to use the microformat if it requires rewriting the URLs on your web site? It seems contrary to the principle that microformats are simple and easy to use.