XFN (XHTML Friends Network) is a meaningful and simple way to represents human relationships using HTML hyperlinks. XFN is an HTML microformat. It is developed by Global Multimedia Protocols Group (GMPG). Web developers and authors can take advantage of XFN to indicate relationships to other people by using appropriate “rel” attributes in their links.
For example you can define your profile equivalence for identity-consolidation using rel=”me” XFN microformat attribute. rel=”me” links need to be in both directions to verify the link.
For example I can indicate my Google+ profile using the following link.
<a href="https://plus.google.com/117341404717640025660/about" rel="me">Binu George</a>
Another example is rel=”friend” can be used to indicate relationship to your friends by publishing a link on their site.
<span class="removed_link" title="http://friend.example.com/">My friend</span>
FN definitions can be classified into identity, friendship, physical, professional, family, romantic and geographical definitions. For example rel=”co-worker” represents a professional relation while rel=”spouse” indicates spouse relation.
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Profile :me Friendship :contact, acquaintance, friend Physical :met Professional :co-worker, colleague Geographical :co-resident, neighbor Family : child parent, sibling, spouse, kin Romantic : muse crush, date, sweetheart
Benefits of Defining Relationships with XFN
Links that implement XFN microformat relationship attributes helps programs to understand and display relationships you share publicly.
Search engines can parse microformatted content. Best example is the content authority information is Google Search results.
The Semantic Web aims to extend our current web with greater semantics. The Semantic Web is a web of data that can help machines and humans to work together more effectively. XFN reaffirms the principle of minimalist design.
Identity Consolidation With rel-me. rel=”me” consolidate your identity on web. These identities include your blog, your social profiles and your other portfolios. This XFN effectively consolidates your identity without having to maintain that information centrally. It is easy to implement.
XFN is a microformat that depicts social relationships. Google’s My Connections driven by Google Social Graph API (The Social Graph API has been officially deprecated as of January 20, 2012) displays your social connections using XFN microformats. These types of services gather links from other people with whom you have indicated a relationship using XFN.Majority of the social networking sites using XFN to define relations between friends and followers.
XFN (XHTML Friends Network) is a simple way to represent human relationships using hyperlinks and aims a semantic web.
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