Microformats is one of several approaches to add meaning to the visible text which is readable by computers. The goal of this is to create a Semantic Web.

The IndieWeb proposes the use of microformats to build a decentralized social network: the IndieWeb.

The blog your are reading right now is based on IkiWiki, adding microformats to IkiWiki is a first step to adding it to the IndieWeb.


Microformats 2 is the recent development of the microformats markup. It is advised, to use them but still mark web pages up with classic microformats. For easier authoring I have put together a cheat sheet for translating h-entry to hAtom attributes.

For marking up a blog, a perceived minimum of three microformats classes are needed:

For giving details about a post (or article, respectively).
For marking up the author of the article inside the h-entry.
For marking up aggregations of posts.

The following is a stripped down HTML 5 source of the present article. Different class attributes hold the microformat markup. Look out for the following data (classic microformats in parenthesis):

  • h-entry (hentry)
  • p-name (entry-title)
  • e-content (entry-content)
  • rel="tag" (p-category)
  • p-author (author), with h-card (vcard)
  • dt-published (published)
  • dt-updated (updated)
<article class="page h-entry hentry">
    <span class="title p-name entry-title">
        Simple Responsive Design for IkiWiki
    <section id="content" role="main" class="e-content entry-content">
        ... article text comes here ...
        <a href="../../../tags/webdesign/" rel="tag"  class="p-category">webdesign</a>
    <span class="vcard">
        <a class="p-author author h-card" href="">Georg Lehner</a>,
    <span class="dt-published published">Posted <time datetime="2016-06-18T14:08:19Z" pubdate="pubdate" class="relativedate" title="Sat, 18 Jun 2016 16:08:19 +0200">at teatime on Saturday, June 18th, 2016</time></span>
    <span class="dt-updated updated">Last edited <time datetime="2016-07-23T13:48:28Z" class="relativedate" title="Sat, 23 Jul 2016 15:48:28 +0200">Saturday afternoon, July 23rd, 2016</time></span>

Now lets look at a feed. In this case just a time ordered list of two posts. Follow the structure as you did above:

  • h-feed (hfeed)
  • p-name (entry-title): title of the feed.
  • list of posts, each:
    • h-entry (entry)
    • u-url (bookmark)
    • p-name (entry-title): title of the post
    • dt-published (published)
    • p-author (author), with h-card (vcard)
<div class="h-feed hfeed">
    <span class="p-name entry-title"><span class="value-title" title="MagmaSoft Tech Blog: all posts list"> </span></span>
        <div class="archivepage h-entry entry">
            <a href="./Microformats_for_IkiWiki/" class="u-url bookmark p-name entry-title">Microformats for IkiWiki</a><br />
            <span class="archivepagedate dt-published published">
                Posted <time datetime="2016-07-27T15:19:32Z" pubdate="pubdate" class="relativedate" title="Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:19:32 +0200">late Wednesday afternoon, July 27th, 2016</time>
        <div class="archivepage h-entry entry">
            <a href="./Simple_Responsive_Design_for_IkiWiki/" class="u-url bookmark p-name entry-title">Simple Responsive Design for IkiWiki</a><br />
            <span class="archivepagedate dt-published published">
                Posted <time datetime="2016-06-18T14:07:50Z" pubdate="pubdate" class="relativedate" title="Sat, 18 Jun 2016 16:07:50 +0200">at teatime on Saturday, June 18th, 2016</time>
            <span class="vcard">
                by <a class="p-author author h-card url fn" href="">Georg Lehner</a>

If you use Firefox and install the Operator Add-on you can see respective 'Contacts' and 'Tagspaces' entries.

This should do for learning by example, if you need more, go to the website.

Note: IMHO the markup looks overly complicated, due to doubling microformats v1 and v2 markup. Microformats v2 simplify things a lot, but Operator has no support for it (yet) and who else out there will have?!


Single posts

Pages are rendered by IkiWiki via HTML::Template using a fixed template: page.tmpl. So are blog posts, as these are simply standard wiki pages. The templates can contain variables, such as the authors name or the creation date of the page, which are inserted accordingly in the HTML code.

Instead of rewriting the default page.tmpl, I copied it over to mf2-article.tmpl and use the IkiWiki directive pagetemplate on top of all blog posts in the following way: ``

Note: One would like to avoid this extra typing. There are approaches which automate template selection, e.g. as discussed at the IkiWiki website here, however they are not yet available in the default IkiWiki code base.


We already explored the different options of aggregating several pages with IkiWiki on this website.

Two templates come into play for formatting the various posts involved:

For simple lists of posts, like the example for a feed used above.
When concatenating several posts, e.g. the five most recent ones, with all their contents.

Note: there is also a microblog.tmpl template, which I have not used until now. Of course it will need a microformats upgrade too.

Accordingly I provide two modified template files which include the necessary microformats markup:

These are used in the respective inline directive in the template argument. Two live examples from the posts and the blog pages:

[[!inline  pages="page(blog/posts/*) and !*/Discussion"
show="5" feeds="no"
template="mf2-inlinepage" pageinfo]]
[[!inline  pages="page(./posts/*) and !*/Discussion"
archive=yes quick=yes trail=yes show=0
template="mf2-archivepage" pageinfo]]

But this does not give us a feed markup!

Ideally the inline directive should create the microformats markup for h-feed by itself. This would need a major change in IkiWiki's code base and of course has to be discussed with the IkiWiki authors and community. In the meantime I wrote a wrapper template: h-feed, which can be used to enclose an inline directive and wraps the rendered post list into a h-feed tagged <div>.

Note: it is not trivial to mark up the h-feed automatically. Feeds have required and optional elements which might be made visible or not on the page. The question is, how would the inline directive know which information to show whether to put it on top or below of the list of posts and which text to wrap it into - think multiple languages. A possible solution would be a feedtemplate parameter with which you can select a template wrapping the in-lined pages. The you can adapt the template to your taste. A default template provided by IkiWiki could be similar to the h-feed template.

Finally for the lazy readers: here comes the complete live example for h-feed. We'll show the archivepage example (simple list of posts):

[[!template  id=h-feed.mdwn
name="MagmaSoft Tech Blog: all posts list"
[[!inline pages="page(./posts/*) and !*/Discussion"
archive=yes quick=yes trail=yes show=0
template="mf2-archivepage" pageinfo]]


Pageinfo: more data for templates

IkiWiki runs several passes to compile the given wiki source tree into html pages. During these passes a lot of meta data is gathered for each wiki page. However, as explained in a forum post, IkiWiki does not supply much of this information in the template or inline directive.

To harvest the meta data already available I prototyped a new "IkiWiki" feature, which I call pageinfo. It adds a new valueless parameter to the inline and the template directive as can seen in the above examples. If it is present, information in the global hash %pagestate is made available to the template as <TMPL_VAR variable.

Plugins can be written, which add information to %pagestate in early passes of the IkiWiki compiler.

The precise location for a given variable of a certain page in %pagestate is: $pagestate{$page}{pageinfo}{variable}

Note: This approach should be expanded somehow to take the information from the meta plugin into account.

Sample plugin: get_authors

The canonical way to declare authorship of an IkiWiki page is by using the ?meta directive with the author parameter. This is (sic) not available to templates or the inline directive. Additionally, you must set it by yourself manually for each page.

Since I am using a revision control system (rcs), the authorship information is already present in the wiki. So why repeat myself?

In the pageinfo prototype of IkiWiki two new rcs hooks are added, which gather the creator and the last committer of a file. The sample get_authors plugin uses this information with a map in the setup file to convert the rcs author information to the authors name and URL and provide them as author_name, author_url, modifier_name and modifier_url. These variables are present in the above described templates.

Note: I am not happy with this first attempt. It is rather heuristic and already needs two hooks to implement for each type of rcs. In a real world wiki a page can have a lot of contributors, not just the first and the last one. Should we care?

Show me the source

At you can find the pageinfo branch of the ikiwiki.git repository. In the same location you will find the ikiwiki-plugins repository with the plugin.