How much modification can an hReview take and still be an hReview?

A comment yesterday made me reevaluate my abandonment of the microformat hReview. What I’m wondering is how customized can I make a review and still end up with something recognizable as the microformat. Or does it eventually become just random HTML?

As I mentioned in a post on Oct. 10, I like the idea of microformats. I think standardized patterns for information display and retrieval are a good idea. And I like the placement my reviews get in search engines.

If you go to the hReview code generator at microformats.org/code/hreview/creator and fill in the form, you end up with something like this. I’ve used all caps to indicate the place where the user actually enters her own information. (I’m not yelling at you.)

<div class="hreview" id="hreview-summary">
<h2 class="summary">SUMMARY</h2>
<abbr class="dtreviewed" title="20071012T0839-0600">Oct 12, 2007</abbr> by
<span class="reviewer vcard">
<span class="fn">WEB TEACHER</span>
</span>
<span class="type" style="display:none">product</span>
<img alt="photo of 'PRODUCT NAME'" src="PRODUCT PHOTO URL" class="photo" />
<div class="item">
<a class="fn url" href="PRODUCT URL">PRODUCT NAME</a>
</div>
<blockquote class="description">
<p>
<abbr title="5" class="rating">&#x2605;&#x2605;&#x2605;&#x2605;&#x2605;</abbr> WRITE REVIEW
HERE </p>
</blockquote>
<span class="version" style="display:none">0.3</span>
<p style="font-size:smaller;">This
<a href="http://microformats.org/wiki/hreview">hReview</a> brought to you by the
<a href="http://microformats.org/code/hreview/creator">hReview Creator</a>.
</p>
</div>

I’m posting this in a dated blog entry, so I don’t need a date. It’s my blog, I don’t think the reviewer vcard is needed to identify the reviewer. I’m willing to keep the summary just in case it gets picked up somehow as the only thing displayed, but as an h2 it becomes more important than the blog post title, so it has to be changed to a p. The review description should not be a blockquote. I can accept it as a div or a p. I’m ambivalent about the rating. I usually say whether or not I dislike, approve of, or wholeheartedly recommend the book as part of the review, so I don’t think I need the rating. As for the version of the hReview used, who cares? And there doesn’t need to be a link to the hReview creator at the end of every review.

If I make all those customizations, here’s what I get.

<div class="hreview" id="hreview-summary">
<p class="summary">SUMMARY</p>
<span class="type" style="display:none">product</span>
<img alt="photo of 'PRODUCT NAME'" src="PRODUCT PHOTO URL" class="photo" />
<div class="item">
<a class="fn url" href="PRODUCT URL">PRODUCT NAME</a>
</div>
<div class="description">
<p>
WRITE REVIEW HERE
</p>
</div>
</div>

I’m going to assume that as long as I retain class="hreview" in the review, I’ll be recognized as an hReview. We’ll see what happens when I use it the next time I write a book review.

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3 thoughts on “How much modification can an hReview take and still be an hReview?

  1. After reading through the entire hReview wiki page, it seems to me that the most important elements of the hReview are the attributes used and whether it’s marked up accurately.

    Basically, your modified version of an hReview will still be considered an hReview because it uses valid mark up and contains the proper attributes. Plus, much of the review schema values are optional such as the reviewer name and date.

    For instance, have a look at their second restaurant review example — they’ve done exactly what you’ve done by changing the <blockquote> tag into a division with a class=”description” and changing the heading level 2 to a heading level 4.

    To be honest, this is the first I’m hearing about the hReview format and after learning about it, it sounds cool. I will probably adopt it for my book review site and see how I like it in the long run. :)

    ~ Teli

  2. Also forgot to mention the star rating issue. The system seems to be pretty flexible with what you can use.

    From the wiki, it appears to be just to replace the asterisks with your own personal choice of value as long as you wrap it up in an abbr tag with the attributes class=”rating” and title=”value” (value replaced with the rating integer.)

    Example:
    <abbr class=”rating” title=”1.0″>OMG! It bit the big one</abbr> would still be recognized as the rating of “1.0″ (or worst).

    In the same vein, you could just wrap the integer in a span with a class=”rating” attribute and the integer will be picked up.

    Example:
    <span class=”rating”>4</span> on the Hot Meter would be interpreted as a 4 rating, but displayed as “4″ on the Hot Meter”.

    Hope all of this makes sense. LOL

    ~ Teli

  3. Thanks for the link to the review schema. I hadn’t seen this before and it tells me everything I need to know. I’m embarrassed to admit I overlooked it before now.

    Teli, you shared so much knowledge with me in dealing with how to move this blog from Blogger to WordPress, I’m thrilled to introduce you to something you don’t already know about.

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