IE8’s WebSlices — another practical Microformat

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One of the new features already announced for IE8 is WebSlices; essentially, the ability to subscribe to any part of a web page, even if it doesn’t have an RSS feed. It sounds somewhat similar to Firefox’s Microsummaries feature*, although it’s a) easier to implement, b) more flexible, and c) not buried in the browser where no‐one could ever find it.

Microsummaries work by creating an XML file which is polled on a regular basis by the user agent to check for updates; WebSlices work on the same principal, although they leverage the power of Microformats instead. A very simple WebSlice could be marked up like so:

<div class="hslice" id="myid">
<h2 class="entry-title">Title</h2>
<p class="entry-content">Lorem ipsum dolor</p>

If that code was embedded in a page and you were using IE8, the notifier would light up and alert you to the presence of the WebSlice, allowing you to subscribe (see image below). Every hour (or time period specified) the browser would check that code to see if it had been updated, and alert you accordingly. Pretty slick.

WebSlice UI

The entry‐title and entry‐content classes are taken from the hAtom Microformat, which is also a good move on the IE team’s part, as it shows they are taking notice of movements in semantic markup. It also means hSlice can be implemented into other Microformat tools; Daniel Glazman has already put together a Firefox/Greasemonkey add‐on.

You can read more about WebSlices and learn how to implement them on your site by downloading the White Paper. IE comes in for a lot of stick from the web dev community — myself included — but I’m happy to say I think they’ve got this one right.

* I should mention that this also sounds pretty similar to Apple’s Web Clip function, although I haven’t had the opportunity to try that out yet.

2 comments on
“IE8’s WebSlices — another practical Microformat”

  1. […] webslices se více dočtete v příspěvku Připravte se na výřezy u Aleše Roubíčka nebo na BrokenLinks. Jedná se o zajímavou recyklaci mikroformátu hAtom. Ta může být užitečná, ovšem objevila […]

  2. I like more how the web slices idea is implemented in the Firefox browser. “PageSlices for Firefox” add‐on allows to create web slice from any part of any web page.
    Web site of the project: