Schema.org – Not Just For SEO
While at @ModernJago attending a Windows 8 UX Design workshop, @andspo mentioned schemas and how they can be used in Windows 8 applications. He referred to Schema.Org, a website that hosts a collection of open source schemas.
The site was created in early June 2011, by the three big search engines Bing, Google and Yahoo! These search engines rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages. As many sites are generated from structured data, which is often stored in databases. When this data is formatted into HTML, it becomes very difficult to recover the original structured data. Many applications, especially search engines, can benefit greatly from direct access to this structured data. On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web.
But it isn’t just SEO that the schemas are good for. As I’m now working on a new Windows 8 application idea, I thought I would check out the site to see if there were any relevant schemas to my data. I quickly found a schema that matched just what I wanted. So how will I use it? Well Andrew made a very good point while at Modern Jago, the share features in Windows 8 can be a very powerful way of integrating with not just social networks. But other Windows 8 applications as well, so by using the schema my application has the ability to pass data via the share feature to other applications that can provide the user with an even better and more integrated experience.
The good thing about Schema.Org is its completely user driven, so if the schema you need isn’t there, you can just create it! Then other people can take advantage of the unified data structure. There are tutorials and guides at http://schema.rdfs.org/learn.html, so if you are not so sure on how to structure or use schemas, you can quite quickly get familiar. Also Google has loads of information here.