[microformats-discuss] Microformats for WSDL and WSIL
Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
drernie at opendarwin.org
Tue Oct 18 10:07:46 PDT 2005
On Oct 18, 2005, at 6:30 AM, Tom Warne wrote:
> I missed the introduction thread a few weeks ago, so quickly, my name
> is Tom Warne and I am a master's student (CS) at Brigham Young
> University. I became interested in microformats after my advisor
> (Phil Windley) introduced me to them.
> For my master's thesis, I am investigating the use of microformats to
> present WSDL , WSIL , and contact (hCard) information in an easy
> way for both humans and machines to consume.
> My thesis statement is:
> "Most organizations, rather than using heavyweight UDDI, simply create
> lists of the Web services that are available. Often these lists are
> created in human readable form and are distributed around the
> organization's Web. Microformatted WSIL and WSDL, together with
> hCards, allow organizations to create human readable lists of Web
> services in a way that also allows machines to find and bind to
> services. These Web pages constitute a simple and novel method for
> machines (and humans) to find and use Web services."
Sounds more useful than mine: "The Life and Death of Strangely
Charmed Mesons." :-)
> After reading about some of the REST-API microformat information, my
> proposal seems similar, except that I am focusing more on the standard
> WSDL/WSIL. The microformats could (and possibly should) be similar.
Yes, a very interesting convergence.
> As I proceed, what suggestions does the community have? Has anyone
> considered microformats for WSDL or WSIL?
Well, to be honest, there's two ways you can go about this:
Strive for a 100% faithful translation of WSDL and WSIL into
HTML, using microformats (merely) as decoration.
Dive into the 'zen' of microformats and discern the 80/20
point where WSDL & WSIL are broadly useful, and paraphrase that into
At the risk of being blunt, I have to say that WSDL and microformats
are completely opposite ways of looking at the world. At least in my
experience, people have been writing nominally machine-readable WSDL
and UDDI files for years that no machine is actually capable of
understanding. Has that changed?
The microformats approach is instead to figure out what people are
*actually* doing today, then "profile" that in a way that makes it
more rigorous and easy to 'reason about together.' In other words,
to cleanly solve existing problems rather than try to solve
hypothetical future problems.
Frankly, I would *love* to have someone take a serious yet pragmatic
approach to this problem, and actually look at what industry is doing
*in practice* rather than what we *say* we're doing. :-) There's
certainly room for far more rigor and and thoroughness than what
Tantek and I are banging out here -- if it can be done without losing
contact with coding reality. That would be a thesis that
implementors would actually *read*!
But, ultimately, of course, it comes down to what your thesis advisor
is willing to support:
-- Ernie P.
(Caltech '95, Physics, if you care)
>  http://www.w3.org/TR/wsdl
>  http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/library/specification/ws-
> Tom Warne
> microformats-discuss mailing list
> microformats-discuss at microformats.org
Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D. <drernie at opendarwin.org>
Ex-Physicist, Marketing Weenie, and Dilettante Hacker
Probe-Hacker blog: http://www.opendarwin.org/~drernie/
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