8th February 2007

Technology- Semantic Web and Microformats

posted in Technology |

Dave asks
“Is the Semantic Web (Web 3.0) Dead on Arrival?”
over on his blog. This reminds me a bit of some of the stuff I was trying to get at when I wrote about the history of RSS, although as usual my writing approach was the boring one and Dave did a great job coming out with an attention grabbing headline.

Some of the general concepts of the Semantic web are great, but the presentations I’d seen never included compelling user scenarios that made me really want to get it. In terms of the Vista marketing, there was no “wow” moment. Furthermore the technical approach was very dry, complicated and impractical.

Microformats and some of the other current trends on the web are a much more reasonable way to go about this kind of thing. Strip down complexity, make it work with the existing infrastucture and let people wire it together. The W3C vision around RDF and whatnot requried people to adjust how they expressed all their data, build new query engines, new outputs of their data from their apps. Ironically for a thing called the Semantic web, it required you to strip the semantics out of your data. From an architectural point of view there are good arguments for this seperation of data and semantics, but it rarely fit in well with any web-sites business strategy.

In other news the new Bloc Party album, A Weekend in the City is out and its available on eMusic immediately. This is a huge score for eMusic and it seems like they would be crazy to not sponsor (or otherwise have a presence at) the Bloc Party tour this spring. I see that they do have a big animated add for the album on their homepage, so it is clear that they get what a big deal this is for them. Of course Bloc Party’s own web-site advertises downloading it from iTunes complete with evil DRM that Steve Jobs, despite his letter yesterday, hasn’t removed. Given that Bloc Party obviously allows non-DRM protected distribution of thier stuff, this would be a good “put up or shut up” for Mr. Jobs.

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