W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > March 2008

Re: request for comments: Cognition metadata parser

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@x-port.net>
Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2008 11:40:04 +0000
Message-ID: <a707f8300803020340l24df0cc6w97a5b95b5b7eb1f2@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Toby A Inkster" <usenet200801@tobyinkster.co.uk>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org

Hi Toby,

>  > I'm (planning on) writing a browser (reusing a rendering engine though!)
>  > with a focus on metadata. I've not started the GUI yet, but have so far
>  > written a parser to extract semantics from (X)HTML pages, and I'd
>  > appreciate feedback on it.

I'm pleased to hear about your project, and I'm hoping you'll be
pleased to hear about mine. :)

I believe I have exactly the same goal as you (a 'semantic web
browser'), and have been working on this for a number of years now,
partly on the application itself, and partly on the standards that
would be needed to support it (most significantly RDFa and @role, but
I'm also involved in XForms and XHTML 2).

I've always felt that the key to this whole thing is to have a
flexible UI framework, not just a browser. The idea is to make it easy
to create complete desktop applications, fire up system tray messages,
add browser toolbars and side-bars, and so on, all using the same
languages, and most importantly, all of which make use of the same
common triple store. In addition, we'd want the framework to be
flexible enough to allow the use of Flash, Silverlight, SVG, XForms,
and so on...in other words it's a UI _framework_.

For example, say this framework is used to build both a browser and an
IM client; as we're chatting over IM you could pass information to me
about a meeting we're to have, or your geo location, and it could go
straight into my triple store. Then when I'm browsing and see some
meetings at Upcoming.org, not only would they be presented in the
browser on a timeline and map (as you'd expect), but alongside them
would be a pin representing the meeting that you and I have just
arranged, via IM.

In other words, regardless of the application being used, there is a
common metadata store.

Some background on the concepts is here:


Anyway, we already have most of this framework in place, within an
open source, wxWidgets-based project, called Sidewinder:


It currently supports the use of both IE and Firefox's rendering
engines (IWebBrowser2 and Gecko), and the lead developer on the
project (my colleague Phil Booth) has almost completed his work to add

In my view getting to the point where we have a flexible UI framework
is the most difficult part of creating a semantic web browser, and the
next step of adding storage and parsing algorithms should be quite
straightforward, and once done, we can really start to push things.
But looking at your project, this may be an area for

The timing of getting to this point in Sidewinder's development is
perfect, because we've reached it just as the work on RDFa is starting
to bear fruit. The reason I focused on the UI side for the last four
years or so is that I strongly believe putting metadata into mark-up
(as RDFa and @role do) will be a significant factor in enabling a
semantic web, and so it is important to have a client that supports

I'm hoping that you'll take a look at what has been done so far, and
if you think we're all going in the same direction, make some input
into the project. I think so many people are coming to similar
conclusions that we may be on the verge of something really
interesting, so if anyone is interested in discussing how the RDF
integration should take place we can easily start some wiki
discussions in the Trac site for Sidewinder.



  Mark Birbeck

  mark.birbeck@x-port.net | +44 (0) 20 7689 9232
  http://www.x-port.net | http://internet-apps.blogspot.com

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Received on Sunday, 2 March 2008 11:40:19 UTC

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