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

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@webbackplane.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 23:34:47 +0100
Message-ID: <ed77aa9f0906251534w5d70f7d0u587cd1310a37c545@mail.gmail.com>
To: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Cc: Jeremy Carroll <jeremy@topquadrant.com>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, Tom Heath <tom.heath@talis.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>
Hi Kingsley,

> If you are comfortable producing (X)HTML documents, then simply use RDFa and
> terms from relevant vocabularies to describe yourself, your needs, your
> offerings, and other things, clearly. Once you've done that, simply leave
> the Web to do the REST :-)
>
> Everything else is a technical detail (imho).

But that isn't the discussion we're having, IMHO.

We're not talking about how you or I might do it -- people comfortable
with .htaccess files, server configuration, and so on.

My understanding of the discussion that was going on, is that whilst
we all want to see the semantic web succeed (even if we all have a
different view of what the semantic web is), we're asking how exactly
it is that we can achieve it.

And for years, the solutions proposed have been somewhat mysterious;
RDF/XML, SPARQL end-points, N3, content negotiation, 303s, and so on.

You have to ask yourself at some point, do we want the data, or don't
we -- do we want people to publish stuff that we 'semwebbers' can use?
And if we do want it, then let's help them publish it.

I may be biased because I've had my nose pressed up against it for too
many years, but I believe that in this regards, RDFa is a
game-changer.

It's not GRDDL, which says 'publish whatever the hell you like and
we'll convert it'. It's not microformats, which says, 'here are a
handful of centralised vocabularies, for use on a decentralised web'.
And it's not RDF/XML, which requires you to take apart your server and
put it back together again.

It's HTML.

And everyone knows at least one way to publish HTML, don't they?

In the years that I've been involved with the RDFa work, the mental
model I have always had, is of someone using Blogger or Drupal or
something just as simple, to publish RDF. That's now possible with
RDFa, and what's even more exciting, Yahoo! and Google will pick it
up.

I realise I'm sounding like an evangelist (no doubt because I am one). :)

But my suggestion would be that we have a window of opportunity here,
to create a semantic infrastructure that is indistinguishable from the
web itself; the more metadata we can get into HTML-space, the more
likely we are to bring about a more 'semantic' web...before anyone
notices. ;)

Regards,

Mark

-- 
Mark Birbeck, webBackplane

mark.birbeck@webBackplane.com

http://webBackplane.com/mark-birbeck

webBackplane is a trading name of Backplane Ltd. (company number
05972288, registered office: 2nd Floor, 69/85 Tabernacle Street,
London, EC2A 4RR)
Received on Thursday, 25 June 2009 22:35:33 UTC

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