RDF too

Congratulations to the RDFa folks for rolling out a release candidate of RDFa for XHTML. Now that I’ve finished tweaking site designs, my next step is to see about incorporating smarts into my pages, including the use of RDFa. In addition, I also want to incorporate the RDF Drupal modules more closely into the overall functionality. The SPARQL module still seems broken, but the underlying RDF modules seem to be working now.

The RDFa release candidate is timely, as I gather the BBC has decided to forgo microformats in favor of RDFa. This has re-awakened the “microformats vs. RDFa” beast, which we thought we had lulled to sleep. I guess we need to switch lullabies.

Speaking of lullabies, I had hoped to start work on the second edition of Practical RDF later this year, but it is not to be. The powers-that-be at O’Reilly aren’t comfortable with a second edition and have accepted another book proposal that covers some of what I would have covered in order to make the book livelier. There just isn’t the room for both.

I am disappointed. The first version of “Practical RDF” was difficult because the specification was undergoing change, the semantic web wasn’t generating a lot of interest, and there weren’t that many RDF-based applications available. Now, the specs are mature, we have new additions such as RDFa, increased interest in semantics, and too many applications to fit into one book. I feel as if I started a job, and now won’t be able to finish it.

One issue in the book decision is the “cool” factor. RDF and associated specifications and technologies aren’t “cool”, in that people don’t sit around at one camp or another getting hot and bothered talking about how “RDF is going to change the world!” However, the topic doesn’t necessarily have to be “cool” if the author is “cool”, and I’m not. I don’t Twit-Face-Space-Friend-Camp-Chat-Speak-Shmooze. What I do is sit here quietly in my little corner of waterlogged Missouri, try out new things, and write about them. That’s not really cool, and two not-cools do not make a hot book.

I don’t regret my choice of lifestyle, and not being “cool”. I do regret, though, leaving the “Practical RDF” job undone. Perhaps I’ll do something online with PDFs or Kindle or some such thing.

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