PostCon – generating RDF/XML files

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Now that the Burningbird Network sites are getting back into the groove, time to bring this weblog back online.

I’ve incorporated bits and pieces of the PostCon throughout this system. However, none of the implementations are a blinding flash or a deafening roar. And I’m not picking a fight with anyone about it, so I imagine rolling out this technology won’t generate a lot of conversation.

The first implementation of PostCon for my system was to create the RDF files containing information about individual weblog posts for Burningbird. These files were created automatically using a Movable Type template, and you can see an example of one of the files here. It should be valid RDF/XML, and features the PostCon vocabulary. Information recorded includes:

  • Weblog posting author and creation date
  • URL of current location, as well as articles that link this posting, and other articles that are linked by this posting – its location within a hierarchy of links
  • The resources the posting is dependent on. By this I mean, what format is the file, what style sheets are required by it, and any logos.
  • The status of the posting (valid, active, relevant)
  • Title and abstract and history of the page – including a historical entry representing the fact that the resource was renamed with a reorganization of the web sites

The template used to generate these files can be seen in this exercise is to demonstrate that it does not require huge investments in time or energy in order to record intelligent metadata about a resource in a machine-accessible standard format. One argument against the semantic web, generally, and RDF specifically is that both add to the complexity of a process and are beyond the average person. Well, with PostCon and Movable Type, all the average person needs do is spend about a half an hour understanding the vocabulary, and about another half an hour to modify the template file to output what they want their files to show.

The second component is a PHP-based page that processes this information into human readable form, which is then attacked to a ‘meta’ link within each page. I’ll demonstrate this in the next posting.

(Speaking of RDF programming, I noticed a new review of the book out at Amazon. The problem with book reviews of this nature is that someone can put up a review that says the book is outdated because it covers the previous version of Jena, when Jena coverage is only one aspect of the book, and I spent time updating the examples for Jena 2.0 here in this site. This review also doesn’t take into account rewriting the book four times over two years keeping it in synch with the RDF specs. Grr.)

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