hCalendar, one of several microformat standards, is a simple, open, distributed calendaring and events format, based on the iCalendar standard (RFC2445).  According to microformats.org, microformats are data format standards that a diverse community of individuals and organizations are actively developing and implementing for more/better structured blogging and web microcontent publishing in general.”

The principles behind microformats—and its relative, structured blogging—are akin to those in the techncial communication community. Just as technical writers are striving to create effective documentation solutions using XML, single-sourcing techniques, and content management methodologies and tools, microformats help non-technical folks create modular, granular, semantically-enhanced content appropriate for reuse (structured content that can be processed and understood by computers).

Write it once, use it often is the message behind those who support the widespread adoption of microformats. But unlike technical communicators who often rely on proprietary content creation tools to do their jobs, microformats can be utilized by both specialized software and open/free tools alike, allowing anyone with a web browser and connection to the internet to create and deliver structured, reusable content. Inexpensive (or free) blogging tools like Moveable Type or WordPress offer support of microformats by providing their users with plug-ins designed to make creating structured content easy.

Understanding hCalendar is easy. Give it a try using this free hCalendar Creator.  To see some real-world examples of hCalendar in action, check out Examples in the Wild.