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RE: .htaccess a major bottleneck to Semantic Web adoption / Was: Re: RDFa vs RDF/XML and content negotiation

From: Jeff Finkelstein, Customer Paradigm <jeff@customerparadigm.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:06:25 -0600
Message-Id: <200906251730.n5PHUc9F022364@sixcp.sixcp.com>
To: <martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org>, "'Danny Ayers'" <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
Cc: <bill.roberts@planet.nl>, <public-lod@w3.org>, "'semantic-web at W3C'" <semantic-web@w3c.org>
Martin-

I agree that the .htaccess file is a big stumbling block for many people
with low-cost hosting.  Would a lightweight php-based application that could
write to the .htaccess  / create the RDF file work to solve this easily?

Thanks,

-- Jeff
________________________________________
Jeff Finkelstein 
303.499.9318 x 8282
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-----Original Message-----
From: semantic-web-request@w3.org [mailto:semantic-web-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Martin Hepp (UniBW)
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 10:44 AM
To: Danny Ayers
Cc: bill.roberts@planet.nl; public-lod@w3.org; semantic-web at W3C
Subject: .htaccess a major bottleneck to Semantic Web adoption / Was: Re:
RDFa vs RDF/XML and content negotiation 

Hi all:

After about two months of helping people generate RDF/XML metadata for their
businesses using the GoodRelations annotator [1], I have quite some evidence
that the current best practices of using .htaccess are a MAJOR bottleneck
for the adoption of Semantic Web technology.

Just some data:
- We have several hundred entries in the annotator log - most people spend
10 or more minutes to create a reasonable description of themselves.
- Even though they all operate some sort of Web sites, less than 30 % of
them manage to upload/publish a single *.rdf file in their root directory.
- Of those 30%, only a fraction manage to set up content negotiation
properly, even though we provide a step-by-step recipe.

The effects are
- URIs that are not dereferencable,
- incorrect media types and
and other problems.

When investigating the causes and trying to help people, we encountered a
variety of configurations and causes that we did not expect. It turned out
that helping people just managing this tiny step of publishing Semantic Web
data would turn into a full-time job for 1 - 2 administrators.

Typical causes of problems are
- Lack of privileges for .htaccess (many cheap hosting packages give limited
or no access to .htaccess)
- Users without Unix background had trouble name a file so that it begins
with a dot
- Microsoft IIS require completely different recipes
- Many users have access just at a CMS level

Bottomline:
- For researchers in the field, it is a doable task to set up an Apache
server so that it serves RDF content according to current best practices.
- For most people out there in reality, this is regularly a prohibitively
difficult task, both because of a lack of skills and a variety in the
technical environments that turns into an engineering challenge what is easy
on the textbook-level.

As a consequence, we will modify our tool so that it generates "dummy" 
RDFa code with span/div that *just* represents the meta-data without
interfering with the presentation layer.
That can then be inserted as code snippets via copy-and-paste to any XHTML
document.

Any opinions?

Best
Martin

[1]  http://www.ebusiness-unibw.org/tools/goodrelations-annotator/

Danny Ayers wrote:
> Thank you for the excellent questions, Bill.
>
> Right now IMHO the best bet is probably just to pick whichever format 
> you are most comfortable with (yup "it depends") and use that as the 
> single source, transforming perhaps with scripts to generate the 
> alternate representations for conneg.
>
> As far as I'm aware we don't yet have an easy templating engine for 
> RDFa, so I suspect having that as the source is probably a good choice 
> for typical Web applications.
>
> As mentioned already GRDDL is available for transforming on the fly, 
> though I'm not sure of the level of client engine support at present.
> Ditto providing a SPARQL endpoint is another way of maximising the 
> surface area of the data.
>
> But the key step has clearly been taken, that decision to publish data 
> directly without needing the human element to interpret it.
>
> I claim *win* for the Semantic Web, even if it'll still be a few years 
> before we see applications exploiting it in a way that provides real 
> benefit for the end user.
>
> my 2 cents.
>
> Cheers,
> Danny.
>
>
>   

--
--------------------------------------------------------------
martin hepp
e-business & web science research group
universitaet der bundeswehr muenchen

e-mail:  mhepp@computer.org
phone:   +49-(0)89-6004-4217
fax:     +49-(0)89-6004-4620
www:     http://www.unibw.de/ebusiness/ (group)
         http://www.heppnetz.de/ (personal)
skype:   mfhepp 
twitter: mfhepp

Check out the GoodRelations vocabulary for E-Commerce on the Web of Data!
========================================================================

Webcast:
http://www.heppnetz.de/projects/goodrelations/webcast/

Talk at the Semantic Technology Conference 2009: 
"Semantic Web-based E-Commerce: The GoodRelations Ontology"
http://tinyurl.com/semtech-hepp

Tool for registering your business:
http://www.ebusiness-unibw.org/tools/goodrelations-annotator/

Overview article on Semantic Universe:
http://tinyurl.com/goodrelations-universe

Project page and resources for developers:
http://purl.org/goodrelations/

Tutorial materials:
Tutorial at ESWC 2009: The Web of Data for E-Commerce in One Day: A Hands-on
Introduction to the GoodRelations Ontology, RDFa, and Yahoo! SearchMonkey

http://www.ebusiness-unibw.org/wiki/GoodRelations_Tutorial_ESWC2009





 
 
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Received on Thursday, 25 June 2009 17:07:36 UTC

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