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Re: [ANN] A pragmatic implementation of the Semantic Web

From: ALT Mobile DEV <dev@altmobile.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2008 09:06:56 -0400
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Message-Id: <A2F98720-C328-4468-8E3F-C57B376025F3@altmobile.com>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org

Hi Dan,

Thank you for your measured tone and advice at the beginning of this  
email. First, let me unequivocally state that I never intended  
personal disrespect to any member of this list or the broader Semantic  
Web community. Nor did I intend to disparage your work or that of your  
colleagues. Simply put, the Semantic Web community is the inheritor of  
Web 1.0 and all of us in the Web 2.0 world should recognize that. I  
do. Furthermore, many of us in the Web 2.0 world consider ourselves to  
me in the SemWorld.

If we look at all of the other technology groups that have had a  
fundamental impact on the web such as the XML technologies and those  
engineers who "created" XML 10 years ago, it's obvious that many of  
them are not attempting to "enhance the web" with new technologies but  
rather supplant it.

Unlike the SemWeb people and community who work effortlessly to better  
the web despite all those smirks and chuckles of which you are aware.  
They don't get the vision. Period. I've embedded more comments below.

Thanks again for your advice.


ALT Mobile

http://altmobile.com/Home.html (web site)
http://web.mac.com/altmobile (official blog)

On Apr 8, 2008, at 3:53 AM, Dan Brickley wrote:

> Hi Zaid,
> ALT Mobile DEV wrote:
>> I am pleased to announce that my company is shipping developer  
>> tools and servers which solve many of the underlying impediments in  
>> realizing the Semantic Web vision. To accomplish this, I have  
>> significantly diverged from the prescribed W3C implementation and  
>> standards and have leveraged the proven ideas and technologies of  
>> Web 2.0. I have summarized much of our implementation details to  
>> enable the Semantic Web community to understand our reasons for  
>> divergence and hopefully to work with me to ensure that the  
>> Semantic Web vision can become a mainstream reality in the near term.
> Congratulations on shipping!
> Before this thread predictably spirals out of control, into an orgy  
> of historical corrections and so forth, can I make a suggestion?
> If you've built something you're proud of, using W3C Semantic Web  
> technologies (RDF, RDFS, OWL, SPARQL etc) that's great. If you used  
> related ideas using different technologies, that's great too.But  
> your email below comes across as rather negative, and makes a series  
> of largely false mis-characterisations of our work here.

[ZAID] it's not about the intent of your work or the history of it.  
Our announcement and our products are about correcting the perceived  
mistakes in the "prescribed implementation of the SemWeb vision"...  
said differently the W3C Semantic Web standards and many of the  
related standards such as Dublin Core have certain defects that need  
correction so that the SemWeb vision can be broadly realized in the  
mainstream beyond the various niche successes of today.

> I suggest it might be more productive to focus on the positive,  
> rather than couch your achievements in terms of the alleged failures  
> of others.

[ZAID] The positive is that we believe that some of the fundamental  
technical and business impediments of the SemWeb are now solved with  
our technologies. Because of the "alleged failures" of the prescribed  
implementation of the SemWeb vision; I decided to do an alternate  
implementation of the SemWeb vision that works and is commercial.

> Tell us about the problems solved by what you've built, the happy  
> users, the increased productivity;

[ZAID] Yes...we feel that we've "solved many of the underlying  
impediments in realizing the Semantic Web vision" by doing a different  
SemWeb implementation.

> don't waste your time telling us that we've not thought about user- 
> created metadata, about non-XHTML HTML, user-controlled metadata,  
> sub-page granularity annotations, or how static and passive we all  
> are here.

[ZAID] Without doubt the SemWeb visionaries and traditional  
implementers are all accomplished engineers and know the issues but...  
the prescribed implementation as articulated via the standards and  
public discussions miss the mark in a good many areas. To overcome  
these shortcomings-- which I felt have hindered wide-scale  
implementation of the SemWeb vision; we've innovated with commercial  

The reference of "static and passive" was to the W3C meta data  
prescribed implementation and not to the authors or supporters of the  
standards or authors.

> It comes across as laughably false flamebait, when I'm sure really  
> you're just proud of what you've been working on and haven't dug  
> deeply enough into the work of others in the Semantic Web community  
> and related areas.

[Zaid] It's not about "the SemWeb community and related areas". It's  
about the prescribed implementation of the SemWeb to which we have  
authored an alternative implementation. If you were to listen to  
TimBL's articulation of the SemWeb vision, you will see that we are on  
the mark.

Would you like an honest discourse about this subject? I'll show up  
with TimBL's clarified discussions on the SemWeb Vision and you'll see  
that we've implemented most of them in our commercial products. This  
email simply states that the vision has been clarified and updated  
over the last 10 years and the W3C prescribed implementation has  
not... and oh by the way we did just that.

> Web 2.0 is fun stuff, as are microformats, Topic Maps, Web Services,  
> XMPP, ... This is a community of technology pluralists, not  
> fundamentalists. I'm sorry if we've given you

[ZAID] Pluralism which cannot include an alternate implementation...  
Pluralism which cannot include new members... Pluralism which cannot  
accept a new voice...

> the impression we're so clueless,

[ZAID] who's flamebaiting here? This is not about Web 2.0 vs Web 3.0.  
This is not about the various members' engineering skills. We are  
simply stating that the SemWeb vision has been updated by TimBL and  
that we've listened to that and done an implementation leveraging all  
of the good points from Web 1.0 and Web 2.0-- with our own  
innovations-- to enable mainstream adoption.

> but really the best way to propose a collaborative way forward is  
> *not* by showing up ten years late telling everyone how they've been  
> doing it wrong.

[Zaid] isn't that the essence of an "Ivory Tower" mentality.  You  
disparage our accomplishments because of our youth.

> So I'm going to ignore the rest of your mail for now, maybe others  
> will send you some URLs to check out.

[Zaid] You eschew discourse by discouraging others to investigate. I  
tell you that we've solved some of the fundamental challenges of the  
SemWeb and you turn a blind eye and refuse to look. I tell you that we  
are in sync with TimBL's updated suggestions for a SemWeb  
implementation and you cover your ears.

If TimBL or any of the other SemWeb visionaries wrote this email...  
would you be so dismissive?

> cheers,
> Dan

[ZAID] nonetheless, thank you for your comments

>> The series starts here:
>> http://web.mac.com/altmobile/altmobile_blog/ALT_Mobile_Blog/Entries/2008/3/27_Semantic_Web%3A_A_Modern_Implementation.html
>> Here are the major concepts of the <alt> Semantic Web implementation:
>> 1. We enable user authored and maintained meta data and the  
>> traditional Semantic Web prescribed implementation supports  
>> publisher defined meta data.
>> Semantic Web: Publishers vs. Consumers
>> http://web.mac.com/altmobile/altmobile_blog/ALT_Mobile_Blog/Entries/2008/3/27_Semantic_Web%3A_Publishers_vs._Consumers.html
>> 2. We enable HTML pages to be described with meta data and the  
>> traditional Semantic Web prescribed implementation focuses on XHTML  
>> documents.
>> Semantic Web: Publishers vs. Consumers
>> http://web.mac.com/altmobile/altmobile_blog/ALT_Mobile_Blog/Entries/2008/3/27_Semantic_Web%3A_Publishers_vs._Consumers.html
>> 3. We enable user control of their own meta data thereby empowering  
>> users and the traditional Semantic Web prescribed implementation  
>> empowers web site owners.
>> Semantic Web: Revenues vs. Empowerment
>> http://web.mac.com/altmobile/altmobile_blog/ALT_Mobile_Blog/Entries/2008/3/28_Semantic_Web%3A_Revenues_vs._Empowerment.html
>> 4. We enable users to describe specific HTML content and the  
>> traditional Semantic Web prescribed implementation enables  
>> publishers to describe the whole document.
>> Semantic Web: Documents vs. Elements
>> http://web.mac.com/altmobile/altmobile_blog/ALT_Mobile_Blog/Entries/2008/3/28_Semantic_Web%3A_Documents_vs._Elements.html
>> 5. We implement meta data that is dynamic, versional, extensible,  
>> verifiable, executable, and shareable while the traditional  
>> Semantic Web prescribed meta data implementation is static and  
>> passive.
>> Semantic Web: Triple vs. Grand Slam
>> http://web.mac.com/altmobile/altmobile_blog/ALT_Mobile_Blog/Entries/2008/3/30_Semantic_Web%3A_Triple_vs._Grand_Slam.html
>> And the series concludes with the post:
>> Semantic Web: W3C vs. WWW
>> http://web.mac.com/altmobile/altmobile_blog/ALT_Mobile_Blog/Entries/2008/4/4_Semantic_Web%3A_W3C_vs._WWW.html
>> In light of our implementation, I --and I believe many of my  
>> colleagues in the Web 2.0 world-- would like to propose working on  
>> 2 fronts:
>> A. A reevaluation of the traditional Semantic Web prescribed  
>> implementation by adopting the user-centered focus established in  
>> Web 2.0
>> B. Assuming a lack of flexibility to update the W3C Semantic Web  
>> standards; working with us to ensure that our meta data is usable  
>> to upstream technologies such as ontologies, RDF databases, and  
>> SPARQL queries.
>> Thank you.
>> --Zaid
>> ALT Mobile
>> http://altmobile.com/Home.html (web site)
>> http://web.mac.com/altmobile (official blog)
Received on Tuesday, 8 April 2008 13:08:16 UTC

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