Move over, AJAX. Microformats are the new ‘it’ technology:
Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns (e.g. XHTML, blogging).
In plain English, microformats are a standard way of marking up certain items as a way of sneaking the Semantic Web in through the back door. There’s a fair bit of chatting to wade through in order to get to the simple core concept, so here’s an example:
That’ll show up as regular old stylable HTML, but the class names let computers know that this can be automatically to a vcard, both for translation as well as indexing. A Firefox plugin could use this to add the info to your address book, or Google could allow you to search for everyone with a last name of ‘Kepley’. Pretty cool. Actually, Konqueror(Safari’s daddy) already has microformat detection built in to the latest release.