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Microdata is a specification used in HTML documents for addition of semantic markup of HTML pages. The microdata specification helps data to be embedded inside the HTML documents and make it readable for machines. In other words, microdata aids computers in analyzing the content of web pages. Microdata is considered an unobtrusive method of bringing semantic markup to web pages without impacting the syntax of the browser.
Microdata helps in providing a simpler and structured method of annotating HTML elements along with tags which are machine-readable.
Browsers, search engines as well web crawlers are capable of analyzing and processing microdata from web pages and using IT to provide better and richer browsing experiences for users. Search engines find microdata useful, as it helps in analyzing the information on the web pages and produces relevant results for users. The focus of microdata is not to make a new widget for the web pages but to enhance machine readability of the web pages, especially in THE case of automated programs. Microdata has a similar mission to Microformats and RDFa, however differs in implementation techniques. Vocabularies related to microdata do not provide semantics or meaning related to an item. Web developers are provided with options of custom vocabulary or to make use of existing vocabularies on the web. Microdata is comprised of items/name-value pairs, which are defined as per vocabulary. The basic syntax of Microdata includes itemscope used to define an item and itemprop for explaining the properties of the item.
The development of microdata was terminated as the W3C HTML working group could not find an appropriate editor for the specification.