Microformats + GreaseMonkey = MonkeyFormats

What are Monkeyformats?

Monkeyformats are Greasemonkey userscripts that add semantic markup in the Firefox browser to websites that do not yet support Microformats. You can then perform actions with these Microformats through Operator or some similar add-on.

Why do we need Monkeyformats?

Microformat adoptation can use a boost worldwide because it makes the web a better place. Monkeyformats allow users to experience the advantages of microformats on sites they use everyday but that have been lacking semantic markup so far without having to wait for those sites to add them eventually. Although still in its infancy there are already several monkeyformats available that add microformats to some national phone directories in Europe, ticket services, etc.

Monkeyformat examples


Yellow Pages (New!)USInstallAlbert de Klein
Pagine BianchiItalyInstallAlbert de Klein
British TelecomUKInstallThom Shannon
Das TelefonbuchGermanyInstallAlbert de Klein
De TelefoongidsThe NetherlandsInstallAlbert de Klein
Pages JaunesFranceInstallAlbert de Klein


Event listingCountryInstallationAuthor
Ticketmaster.co.ukUKInstallAlbert de Klein
Lippupalvelu.fiFinlandInstallAlbert de Klein
Billettservice.no NorwayInstallAlbert de Klein
Ticnet.seSwedenInstallAlbert de Klein
Billetnet.dkDenmarkInstallAlbert de Klein
Ticketmaster.nlThe NetherlandsInstallAlbert de Klein

How do I use these Monkeyformats?

First you need to install both the Greasemonkey add-on and the Operator add-on in your Firefox browser. Then you can try out some of the Greasemonkey userscripts from the Monkeyformat repository by installing them and visiting the websites for which these monkeyformats have been written. In most cases the Operator-sign should light up in the address bar after your performed a search indicating that the microformats were added to the page. Then you can for instance start sending these hCards to your address book or your mobile phone.

How do I create my own Monkeyformats?

If you want to create your own microformats have a look at the userscripts in the repository. Most of them use a combination of Xpath queries and Regular Expression replacements to apply the microformats to the pages. For some sites it is relatively easy to apply the microformat classes because all the elements are already in place and you only have to add the proper classes. In most cases you will have to add additional elements around street-addresses, postal-codes or localities because they are not surrounded by elements yet to apply the classes to. Sometimes you even have to add some nested elements to make the proper microformats structure possible.

If you create monkeyformats please share them with others through the Userscripts.org repository. Don't forget to add the monkeyformats tag for easy retrieval.

What is Greasemonkey?

Greasemonkey is an add-on for the Firefox browser that can change the appearance of websites by means of JavaScript on the client-side.

What is Operator?

Operator is an add-on for Firefox that allows you to perform actions on Microformats by means of JavaScript.

What are Microformats?

Microformats are a diverse set of specifications that allow you to add semantic markup inside plain HTML pages by using predefined class-attributes.

Further reading

The whole concept of Monkeyformats is rather new. So for the moment (and if you can read Dutch) you also might want to have a look at the article I wrote for Naar Voren, a Dutch magazine for web workers. In that article I introduce the Monkeyformats concept and discuss it in some more detail.

Have fun with the Semantic Web!

- Albert de Klein

March 2, 2008