All in the <head>

– Ponderings & code by Drew McLellan –

– Live from The Internets since 2003 –


Microformats in Dreamweaver

23 March 2006

As you may or may not know, one of my jobs over at the Web Standards Project is to be involved with the Dreamweaver Task Force. For the last five years or so, this has meant working with the Dreamweaver team to try and encourage them to fix things that generate bad markup and to add better support for things like CSS. Fortunately for us, this has been pretty easy as the guys over at Macromedia are very receptive and very smart. The fact that web standards have become a strong selling point over the last few years means that they’ve had the opportunity to devote a lot of time to standards in the most recent couple of version. This is all good, but not my point.

The other part of the remit of the Dreamweaver Task Force is to work with the online Dreamweaver community to encourage and assist in the adoption of web standards. Whilst a lot of our effort to date has been to work alongside Macromedia (after all, there’s no point us tell you guys to use standards if the tool makes it hard to do so), there are some things it’s not reasonable to expect the Dreamweaver engineers to tackle right away.

One such example is Microformats. As a rapidly evolving area of development, it makes more sense for support for Microformats to be implemented as a Dreamweaver Extension rather than wait for a 18 month-ish product cycle to come around only to find it’s all changed.

So whilst listening to Tantek’s Microformats presentation at SXSW, I thought it would be pretty cool if we at the DWTF put together some basic extensions to help provide support in Dreamweaver. The first public beta is available on the WaSP site.

At the moment we only have support for hCalendar, hCard and XFN, but it’s a start. Hopefully we can improve those three and add some more in the near future. All that will depend on your feedback, of course, so you can either leave a comment here, email me, or email the WaSP and let us know what you think.

Update: version 0.5.1 now supports rel-tag too.
Update: version 0.6 adds support for rel-license, and is loaded up with CC defaults.

- Drew McLellan


  1. § Rob L.:

    Stellar idea. I hand-code all my markup but still love Dreamweaver as my text editor because the toolbars are a nice fast way to mark up content that’s handed off to you, and because the “specific tag” find-and-replace features are so insanely great. Looking forward to trying out the WaSP’s extension(s).

  2. § Sébastien Guillon:

    Beautiful. Works fine in DW8 (only a few minutes of testing though).

    Glitch with hCalendar:
    The End date is always 1 more than the value I selected, possibly resulting in 32 for 31.

    This is a great idea, thank you.

  3. § ryan king:

    Sébastien, the reason for the dates been off is that dates in hCalendar (and iCalendar) are exclusive, whereas most people think of inclusive dates. As long as the code will do month rollovers, this should be fine.

  4. § Steve Ganz:

    Great work, Drew!

  5. § Drew:

    As Ryan said, the date thing is unexpected but intentional. I made the same mistake initially too.

    One thing that isn’t working right at the moment (and is on my list to fix) is the end-of-month rollover. I had it on my radar, but frankly, I forgot to fix it. It’ll be addressed in the next update.

  6. § Ricardo Augusto:

    wow, great idea!

    suggestions on interface:

    When I’m editing a lot of links on an existing structure, I find Design View the fastest way to do this. Just use the Point to file, and it’s OK. So, you could put an input or select or maybe a button related with microformats, near the Link select, on Properties box.

    When I click and select the enclosing A tags, already with rel=”...”, and access the XFN dialog from the input bar, there isn’t anything related to the rel that are already used.

    thank you

  7. § Raanan Avidor:

    It is still hard to write sites/pages that are standard complaint (without using tables), until now I’ve used notepad or TopStyle Pro, but the real hard part is to give the site/pages to the owner and hope they won’t turn it into one big tag soup. If Macromedia will build a tool that will facilitate the maintenance of those pages I’ll recommend it to the my users.

  8. § Jesse:

    Raanan: if the user is just maintaining content the easiet tool that Macromedia has is Contribute. Contribute 3 has some faults but it is really hard to turn a site into tag soup if they are just maintaining content.

  9. § Dave Mead:

    Great extension, but hitting the XFN button will crash Macromedia MX everytime.

    Also, the rel=”” has odd characters pre-filled in the window when you click on the button on the toolbar.

    Guess I’ll have to wait for an upgrade to either Dreamweaver 8 or this extension – Wonder which will come first :-)

    Fantastic initiave though, thanks.

  10. § Drew:

    Thanks for the feedback Dave – I thought I’d well and truly ironed out that crash bug, but clearly not. My understanding is that I’m triggering a bug in old versions of DW that is fixed in DW8.

    I’ll also look into the rel-tag weird character issue.

  11. § Stephanie:

    I have been following your work for years it seems I think you have done a great job overtime with helping the Dreamwaever task force with accomplishing web standards, was wondering if you knew anything about a new Dreamweaver coming out from Adobe and if you had anytime to work with it?


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About Drew McLellan

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Drew McLellan (@drewm) has been hacking on the web since around 1996 following an unfortunate incident with a margarine tub. Since then he’s spread himself between both front- and back-end development projects, and now is Director and Senior Web Developer at in Maidenhead, UK (GEO: 51.5217, -0.7177). Prior to this, Drew was a Web Developer for Yahoo!, and before that primarily worked as a technical lead within design and branding agencies for clients such as Nissan, Goodyear Dunlop, Siemens/Bosch, Cadburys, ICI Dulux and Somewhere along the way, Drew managed to get himself embroiled with Dreamweaver and was made an early Macromedia Evangelist for that product. This lead to book deals, public appearances, fame, glory, and his eventual downfall.

Picking himself up again, Drew is now a strong advocate for best practises, and stood as Group Lead for The Web Standards Project 2006-08. He has had articles published by A List Apart, Adobe, and O’Reilly Media’s, mostly due to mistaken identity. Drew is a proponent of the lower-case semantic web, and is currently expending energies in the direction of the microformats movement, with particular interests in making parsers an off-the-shelf commodity and developing simple UI conventions. He writes here at all in the head and, with a little help from his friends, at 24 ways.