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

From: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 14:40:22 +0200
Message-ID: <9178f78c0906260540q58a5bd36o9a0ac9b902cb32d@mail.gmail.com>
To: martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org
Cc: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>, bill.roberts@planet.nl, public-lod@w3.org, semantic-web at W3C <semantic-web@w3c.org>
On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 6:44 PM, Martin Hepp
(UniBW)<martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org> wrote:
> 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?

Been thinking about this issue for the last 6 months, and ive changed
my mind a few times.

Inclined to agree that RDFa is probably the ideal entry point for
bringing existing businesses onto Good Relations.

For a read/write web (which is the goal of commerce, right?), you're
probably back to .htaccess, though, with, say, a controller that will
manage POSTed SPARUL inserts.

I think taking it "one step at a time", in this way, seems a sensible
approach, though as a community, we'll need to put a bit of wieght
behind getting the RDFa tool set up to the state of the art.

> 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
Received on Friday, 26 June 2009 12:41:02 UTC

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