Just like the title says: it seems to me that Microdata has a few advantages over Microformats, with the only drawback being a bit more verbose. Is this all the story?

It seems that Google supports both equally; is there anything else which I should consider?


3 Answers 3


Despite being (as of today) way too short for a subject like this, the Wikipedia article about Microdata (HTML5) still puts the relationship between the three common semantic markup approaches nicely:

Microdata can be viewed as an extension of the existing microformat idea which attempts to address the deficiencies of microformats without the complexity of systems such as RDFa.

So from a distance (i.e. ignoring technical differences) I'd say this pretty much is all the story indeed (for Microdata vs. Microformats - RDFa is another subject matter), consequently your main concern should be the target 'audience', i.e. whether your format of choice is supported by the clients you expect to consume your semantically enriched content - if Google is the usual benchmark here, it appears your are free to go with the upcoming HTML5 standard.

  • Thanks for the answer. I chose to go with microdata: there's "official support" and I don't have to litter my markup with attributes. (RDFa has an incredible overhead, so I never really considered it)
    – Agos
    Commented Sep 16, 2010 at 11:12

It is also good to keep in mind that Microformats are an open standard. This means anyone can contribute.

To be honest picking which one to use is totally dependent on your website needs. If there is a Microformat for what you need I suggest using it instead, at least for now. They are 5 years old and Microdata is still in the works.

Microformats also get to recommendation faster than the W3C does, or at least it feels that way.


One crucial difference between the two is that microdata rely upon the itemprop model while microformats rely (mostly) upon the class model.

This is important for markups that use html sanitization, such as MediaWiki's wikitext, where class attributes are accepted but itemprop attributes are sanitized (i.e. removed). So only microformats can be used in MediaWiki.


In MediaWiki, a microformats syntax such as:

<div class="fn">John Doe</div>

will be accepted and render exactly as is, but a microdata syntax such as:

<div itemprop="name">John Doe</div>

will render as:

<div>John Doe</div>

See also:

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.