Hello and Goodbye from Vince

If you blinked you missed Hurricane Vince–a storm that formed in cool water, from a small beginning, exploding into a hurricane almost immediately, and then hit Spain: a country never before hit by cyclonic activity.

We may actually make it through the alphabet this hurricane season. And if patterns continue, next year could be worse.

No, no: there’s no such thing as global warming.

Connecting RDF Technology

Portable data

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

In addition to being on a panel at SxSW next year, I’m also giving a full day tutorial on RDF at XML 2005 on November 18th. Which also happens to be my birthday.

This is not going to be a passive exercise. I won’t be putting up slide after Powerpoint slide. There will be no hand waving and promises of Big Things to come. We’ll hit the ground running at the start of the session with a scenario that takes us from understanding the basic structures of the model (demonstrated via modeling tools); to using various tools to build an underlying data structure and application to meet specific needs; to consuming, querying, and re-using the data in various applications.

Those attending will have no time to read or respond to their weblog entries; no time to start a backchannel, because I have every intention of keeping attendees too busy and hopefully interested to be distracted. I’m assuming that the only reason why a person would stay the extra day after the conference is because they’re truly interested. Well, I aim to misbehave.

Oh, wait–wrong event. I am to provide.

The session is going to focus on incorporating RDF into our everyday activities, as I am heavily incorporating RDF into my weblog use. We’ll be exploring how one doesn’t have to use every last aspect of RDF in order to gain advantage from its use. In particular, I plan on exploring the use of RDF as an almost ideal portable data structure that doesn’t require a more formal database in order to operate (though we’ll look at how the two can coincide).

In the last several months, I’ve been experimenting with RDF stored in MySQL, as compared to RDF stored in files. When one considers that all applications eventually hit the file system, including databases, there is something to be said for using direct file-based storage for small, discrete models that may or may not be cached in memory for quick access. About the only time I really need the power of a centralized data store with RDF is querying across models–and heck, I have Piggy-bank on my Windows machine for that. More, I can easily and relatively quickly load all my little individual data stores into the database if I so decide.

This is the true power of RDF over relational: relational doesn’t work well with isolated, discrete objects, while RDF does. It is a truly portable database. Anyone can drop the data in at their sites without worry about having to create a database, or manage it. As for portability: how easy can you copy files?

Of course, since the data stored in RDF is meant to be exposed, then anyone can come along and grab the data and store it, using Piggy-Bank or other means. Combine it with their data, query the hell out of it, and use it as they will. As I can do the same with their RDF-based data.

But to return to the requisite hand waving and star-eyed pronouncements: my use of RDF isn’t Web 1.0 or Web 2.0; Semantic Web or semantic web. This is just the Web, stu…stupendous persons who are reading this.

Now, someone give me a million dollars so I can continue creating small stuff, usefully joined.


Link stripper

Stripper plugin update: Rather than strip out the hypertext links, I’m going create the RDF data entries whenever the post is saved, but only remove the links temporarily, and only when the page is displayed. This way the links are maintained within the text, which should reassure at least one person who I know might be interested in using this plugin.

It’s the only way to be able to maintain the link order and numbering even after the post is edited. I still want to put the data in the RDF file, as the SeeAlso functionality–which includes links to resources not necessarily directly linked within the document–also adds data to the RDF file, as do other plugins I’m creating (for photos, post info, and so on).

This functionality will end up being three plugins: one to create the RDF entries when the post is saved; one to output the entries to the syndication feeds; and one to add the references list at the bottom of a post when the post is published. This is in addition to the SeeAlso metadata extension, which allows a person to add references outside of normal linking.

Yes, this is going to be better.