The Simplicity of the Semantic Web
Originally uploaded by kinetisonic.
Web developers are taking a cue from the Grey Album and mashups have become increasingly in vogue. The one that triggered this post was AudioFlickrscrobbler which finds photos related to the music you’re listening to; but web service mashups seem to be everywhere these days.
Jon Udell asks “How do you design a remixable Web application?” An answer he missed was to make it produce and consume data on the Semantic Web.
The Semantic Web is all about remixing and linking and sorting data. All you do is import the data you want into a triple database like Redland or Jena, then run a SPARQL query to find all the linked data you’re looking for.
Also, I love microformats and I think they are a great bridge, but they can be limited.
Compare XFN with FOAF: in XFN how do I say on my family’s ne’er updated blog that Harold is my brother and my mother’s son?
That said, I think that for the Semantic Web to take off microformats will have to take off first. Once people start getting plugins that allow them to add embedded microformat data into their apps (like a script to add hCalendar data to iCal) people will demand that the web interact with their personal data stores. From there, it’s just a matter of time.
4 responses to “Quick thought on web service mashups”
Microformats like XFN are often better than big scary monsters like FOAF because humans can understand them and use them with little effort — in fact, without knowing how to program at all. Know HTML? XFN makes sense. This seems to be a case of “worse is better.” There are a lot of things you can’t do with a microformat but hey, that’s ok. Kind of like tags vs. ontologies. mp3s vs. vinyl. Blog software vs. big-fancy-CMS packages. The web vs. Xanadu…
Part of the reason I built audioFlickrscrobbler (back in April) and weathr was to facilitate my own personal data stories, my music collection with images at Flickr and a city’s weather with impressions of that city by Flickr users. It had nothing to do with other web service mashups.
Pete – I didn’t mean to imply that you were just a lemming following the crowd. Instead, mixing web services is a useful and powerful thing, as you’ve shown. The reason I brought up audioFlickrscrobbler was because it was after seeing your project and Jon Udell’s post that I started thinking about how the Semantic Web relates to that.
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