Wednesday, October 09, 2002

In Search of the Semantic Web

"Designed formats start out strong and improve logarithmically. Evolvable formats start out weak and improve exponentially. RSS 2.0 is not the perfect syndication format, just the best one that’s also currently practical. Infrastructure built on evolvable formats will always be partially incomplete, partially wrong and ultimately better designed than its competition." He misses out Jena and KAON RDF parsers (or even Mozilla's). Jena's ARP parser is probably conformant to a fault.

The original article is also very interesting (he quotes a lot of it in the article), "No one seeing Lotus Notes and the NCSA server side-by-side in 1994 could doubt that Lotus had the superior technology; ditto ActiveX vs. Java or Marimba vs. HTTP. However, the ability to understand what is missing at any given moment does not mean that one person or a small central group can design a better system in the long haul."

"In 5 years, DVD, HDTV, voice-over-IP, and Java will all be able to interoperate because of some new set of protocols which, like HTTP and HTML, is going to be weak, relatively unco-ordinated, imperfectly implemented and, in the end, invincible."

I seem to say this over and over, the RDF club are writing little tools that don't get used by anyone except the inner circle and the commercial players are sitting on the upper end waiting for middle managers to realise the Semantic Web is worth paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Someone has to produce the every persons' Semantic Web application but no one seems to be able to.

"> The existence of WSDL says very little about the design of RDF.

I agree but it says boat loads about the adoption of RDF. It is not even on designer's radar screens when they are trying to solve a problem that is easily considered the domain of RDF. Not capturing that mindshare is a key indicator that there is a problem. If you don't have mindshare, you certainly don't have adoption."

The Tragedy of RSS
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