RDF Writing


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I went to bed at 3 and got up at 6 so have had 3 hours of sleep, and feel much better. Today was also my last day on the contracted job. The people at the place where I worked were very likable, the consulting company that arranged the gig less so. However, that’s not unusual. Am currently working next chapter of story of life.

I have to finish the proofs for Practical RDF for the editor tomorrow or risk the wrath of a production editor on deadline. Believe me, that’s a not someone you want to antagonize. However, I wanted to clarify that my comment in the last post about the Advice emails isn’t directed at my regular readers. You all can give me any advice you want – as long as you accompany the email with a nude photograph of yourself.

I think that’s a fair deal. Don’t you?

One day after the fooflah yesterday, and lots of good reasons to like wikis, but I still dislike them. The frenzy of activity yesterday accomplished a lot, I will admit – but it was like ants scurrying about an ant hill, as the number of edits headed into the hundreds, and pages were changing by the minute, much less the hour.


However, my dislike of wikis has nothing to do with Sam or his decision to use a wiki. I like ants! Ants are good!

Not caring for a technology does not mean that I’m slamming the people who use it, ants analogy aside. That’s equivalent to saying that anyone who doesn’t like RDF must not like me because I wrote about it and promote it’s use. Such silliness.

Speaking of RDF…

Burningbird Weblogging

Taking a break

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

After today, I’m not sure I even want to continue weblogging.

The same people who question about my not ‘getting well with others on the lists’, – have you ever stopped to notice that it’s almost always the same people controlling the discussion? The format? The invitees?

Perhaps the issue is not that I don’t get along well on these lists – it’s that I don’t get along well with certain people, but they’re usually in charge. And I can agree with this.

I will say this – Sam made a statement in an email earlier, and in his weblog that shows he genuinely wants open discussion. So I wish him luck in all good faith. And I thank him for inviting me in, but I’m not sure why he did. Still – thank you Sam for thinking of me.

As for me – I’m going back to working on the server and writing my essays and taking my photos. And trying to decide if I even want to continue this weblog. At this point, I don’t see the point.


Data Model – Final

Due to recent emails accusing me of not playing well with others, barging in, being difficult, and other really joyful things such as the following:

Where do you get off barging into this list and pissing all over
everything? You were invited, presumably, because many people value
your opinion. But don’t think you can get away with your usual stunts
of recklessly flaming everyone and then apologizing later. Save it for
your blog.

I will not be working with any of the so-called ‘team’ members, those who believe that if you don’t go along, then you’re not part of the program. And you know who the fuck you are.

But I will be watching those who do – and I will not stay the fuck stay silent either. Go buy a cookie cutter if that’s what you want, and stop wasting mine and everyone else’s time.

Technology Weblogging

Data Model Two

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Why was I disappointed in the wiki drilling down into the physical yesterday, with the statement about well formed HTML? Because it totally disregards the structure that I proposed yesterday, which sees ‘content’ as something more than just a simple blob of markup. By mentioning ‘well formed HTML’, it sets the context and makes it difficult to have a discussion about anything other than content being a simple blob of markup.

Some folks did respond, and I will respond later when I have more time. One person, Dare, responded to my post in Sam’s comments, addressing me directly, which I thought was bizarre and incomprehensible. However, Tim Bray and James Shell and some folks in my comments had some good points, and I’ll address them later.

First, though, I’ve also noticed that Someone is editing my comments in the wiki, and removed the link to my material and others. Doesn’t have to be Sam – the problem with an open wiki is that it’s completely open. Anyone could have done this. Anyone.

This didn’t start out well – now, how do we fix it?


It’s official – I hate wiki. I hate it with a passion. Anyone can come along and decide that they want to organize it, and remove or edit or move my writing. If I thought the comment thing was bad, this is worse.

The wiki has now been reorganized. Again. And someone has moved my stuff. Again. Based on their judgement they plunked my comments in a secondary page, with no hint or question from the group about whether their assessment is accurate, or even appreciated.

Wikis – nothing more than arrogance run amuck.

I can’t tell what’s going on where anymore everything has been moved and reorganized so much. However, it looks like we’re into XML implementation details now.

Question: has any non-techie made any input at all into this? Through comment, weblog, or wiki entry?

Technology Weblogging

Weblogging data model: Hello Mr. Christian

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Time for a break from Linux for Poets, which is becoming quite fun…

Sam has started a wiki and a weblog entry looking for the basic data elements of what he calls “a well-formed log entry”, and by log, I would assume an online journal/weblog. Instead of drilling down into the physical, he wants to keep the discussion on the business, something I can get behind.

Sam writes that the essential characteristics of a log entry are authentic voice of person, reverse chronological order, and on the web. From this he derives required attributes for a log entry of permalink, creationDate, author, and content.

I come to the same conclusion though I don’t necessarily agree with the essential characteristics. After all, we’ve discussed what is meant by ‘authentic’, but I do agree with at least identifying a specific voice, one that’s guaranteed to represent one entity, regardless of the authenticity of the entity. So I agree with:


Sam also mentions reverse chronological order, and this is something else I don’t should be assumed. After all, just because it’s the standard doesn’t mean that everyone supports multiple entries displayed in reverse chron. However, I think that the date of a specific item is important, and then people can pick and choose how they want things displayed based on this date. More importantly, the date sets the context for the entry. After all, discussing the election of George Bush can have different meanings based on the year of the discussion. So, I agree on date:


Sam also talks about permalink, which is in some ways a physical manifestation of nothing more than a unique address of a resource on the web. Additionally, we all move – we will always move. The days when someone says, “You must not deal 404’s” are gone with the dodo bird. People move, domains change, life morphs, we all go on. So my preference would be to call it unique location at any instance of time, or unique location for short, rather than permalink:

unique location

In fact, the date and author become validation of the unique location – the unique location gives us one specific entry, and the date and author combined give us the same specific entry. By this approach, we have a better understanding of what we mean by ‘author’, which could be an individual, a company, a ficticious character, as long as it combined with the date, can give us the one entry.

Finally, Sam and I are in agreement on content, but don’t get all huffy (Doc) that we’re calling your beautiful prose ‘content’ – this is just a way of getting a handle on something. After all, if we were only hear to put an empty file out on a web server, and put our name to it, we wouldn’t have to worry much about popularity.

However, I would break content down into categories, all of which roll up into the higher level ‘content’ – something that’s very doable within the standard data modeling languages such as idef1x, ER, and so on. My categories would be:

content (category) – one or more of the following:

grouping of related items (a collection of children)
content directly
some variation of the content
Another like item

If I can dig up a freebie idef1x tool that will allow me to publish this as a conceptual data model online, I’ll post one. But for now, this is my first take – hand drawn so it’s rude and crude.

So, my first shot – now you tell me where am I right and where am I wrong. Note, though, that I agree completely with Sam – no implementation details, let’s keep it high level, business domain data model only now. That way everyone can join in, not just the techs.

Or in other words – you do boo boo and do tech voo doo and birdie reach down and slap your fine, fine hand with whisper thin but ouchy and terribly hot flames.

Now, back to poetic technology.

It’s unfortunate that the wiki mentioned above has quickly broken down into physical implementation issues such as content must be well formed (that’s physical), HTML (that’s physical), with an associated MIME type – that looks physical to me, and it precludes any discussion on content that isn’t some form of markup.

I don’t agree with the physical implementation, because it doesn’t account for a child/parent relationship that something like threadsML, threaded comments, syndication feeds, etc need. However, I wish we had given the high level at least a day of discussion before drilling down into implementation issues.