W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-socialweb@w3.org > October 2015

Getting the group back on track

From: Christopher Allan Webber <cwebber@dustycloud.org>
Date: Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:06:14 -0500
To: "public-socialweb\@w3.org" <public-socialweb@w3.org>
Message-ID: <87wpuzsd6f.fsf@dustycloud.org>
Hello all,

So I initially wrote a different version of this email, but I thought
today's call was lively enough that it deserved a rewrite.  So here
goes!

I'm glad to hear that there's a general concern in the group that we
really need to get moving for real on the client to server / server to
server APIs.  I was also happy to hear that in general people seem eager
to get ActivityStreams to move forward.  Great news!  Now, can we do it?
Can we fulfill the missions of this group?

I think we can.  ActivityStreams 2.0 is already looking quite polished.
Today we got some good clarity on what an ActivityStreams test suite
would look like, and I can help on this.  But the deliverables of social
api and federation api seem stuck in a rut.  At minimum, we need to
agree on a format and move forward with it.

Since it's already a deliverable, the mandatory format might as well be
ActivityStreams + JSON.  It's okay to say in the specification that
other formats are optional, and here's how to handle them, but
ActivityStreams should be mandatory.  As Evan said on the call today, it
would "look strange" to not have that be part of the official APIs the
group puts forward.  But appearing non-strange is just one reason: the
goal of this group should be putting forward a standard that the real
world will probably use.  The real world is currently setting up
endpoints that shoot JSON back and forth at each other.  Well, we've got
a nice JSON supporting format, we should take that, declare that as a
basis, and start defining how to shoot that across some endpoints.

By the way, it's my observation (and actually not at all just my
observation, several people external to the group have raised this to
me, even while I was traveling to FSF 30th just this last weekend) that
one of the main causes of this group getting so "stuck in a rut" is that
this group is caught in the crossfire that has been going on for 15
years: Microformats vs Linked Data.  I have massive respect for people
on both sides, and I'd love to see this group serve some purpose of
seeing these sides come together, but more than anything I believe the
opposite has happened: again and again we get caught into age-old
arguments between these camps.

The Microformats vs Linked Data war has been going on for 15 years.  If
it hasn't been solved outside of this group in all this time, there's no
way it can be reconciled inside this group.  Take it outside!

I have more to say on all the above subjects, but in the interest of
keeping this email short, here's a summary: we already have a nice and
dandy serialization format that fits the toolchains of most of the web
frameworks out there.  We've spent a lot of time getting it to a state
that the group seems reasonably happy with.  We should take advantage of
that and move forward on recommending APIs that people can use.

So, how about it?
 - Chris
Received on Wednesday, 7 October 2015 01:03:37 UTC

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