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

From: Knud Hinnerk Möller <knud.moeller@deri.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 19:29:29 +0100
Cc: "Jeff Finkelstein, Customer Paradigm" <jeff@customerparadigm.com>, martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org, 'Danny Ayers' <danny.ayers@gmail.com>, bill.roberts@planet.nl, public-lod@w3.org, 'semantic-web at W3C' <semantic-web@w3c.org>
Message-Id: <6F1484B3-B16E-46C4-8A85-B59CF4E28B1A@deri.org>
To: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
On 25.06.2009, at 19:11, Kingsley Idehen wrote:

> Jeff Finkelstein, Customer Paradigm wrote:
>> 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?
>>
> Sorry, it won't. The issue is actual access to the .htaccess file.  
> Thus, you have to move the metadata expressed in RDF into the  
> (X)HTML docs that are being published based on the  
> existing .htaccess config.

What I meant in my earlier mail is that we can have content  
negotiation even without manipulating .htaccess (as far as I  
understand, content negotiation through .htaccess is imperfect  
anyway). It can be done in code, e.g. in php. The SW Dog Food site [1]  
uses a third-party php class [2] for this, I think Neologism [3] uses  
the same. Of course, a solution based on this would still require to  
be able to upload files to the server.

Knud

[1] http://data.semanticweb.org
[2] http://ptlis.net/source/php-content-negotiation/
[3] http://neologism.deri.ie

>
> Even when the above is done, you will need RDFa processors within  
> user agents (or standalone) for the Linked Data deployment to fully  
> materialize.
>
>
> Kingsley
>> Thanks,
>>
>> -- Jeff
>> ________________________________________
>> Jeff Finkelstein 303.499.9318 x 8282
>> mailto:jeff@customerparadigm.com
>> http://www.customerparadigm.com
>>
>> Customer Paradigm
>> 5353 Manhattan Circle, Suite 103 Boulder, Colorado 80303
>> Recently Featured Websites:
>> http://www.adventurerabbi.org
>> http://www.boulderjews.org
>>
>>
>>
>> -----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
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>   
>> ****************************************************************************
>> ********
>> This footnote confirms that this email message has been scanned by  
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>> Mail-SeCure for the presence of malicious code, vandals & computer  
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>> ****************************************************************************
>> ********
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
>
> -- 
>
>
> Regards,
>
> Kingsley Idehen	      Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
> President & CEO OpenLink Software     Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
>
>
>
>
>

-------------------------------------------------
Knud Möller, MA
+353 - 91 - 495086
Smile Group: http://smile.deri.ie
Digital Enterprise Research Institute
   National University of Ireland, Galway
Institiúid Taighde na Fiontraíochta Digití
   Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh
Received on Thursday, 25 June 2009 18:30:10 UTC

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