[uf-rest] RESTifying RAILs

Danny Ayers danny.ayers at gmail.com
Sat Nov 5 10:25:04 PST 2005

On 11/4/05, Tantek Çelik <tantek at cs.stanford.edu> wrote:

> Danny, I hate to be the skeptic here, but where's the need?
> One thing that a lot of new technologies like microformats, and Rails have
> demonstrated is that you can get tons of things done quickly, and not ever
> worry / care about learning RDF.  I think there's something to be said for
> keeping it simple / minimal, and if RDF hasn't been needed so far, then why
> not just ignore it for now?

By all means ignore it, but...

> > The primary justification is that data from any microformat could be
> > manipulated uniformly in a single, consistent model.
> That can be done without RDF.  Again, not necessary.

True, but the model is a standard one, globally shareable.

> XFN leverages the behavioral pattern exhibited by millions of bloggers that
> people are URLs (no matter how many SemWeb theoreticians dance on heads of
> pins and argue against it).

So who created http://dannyayers.com - me, or my parents?

> hCard can map names of people to the URLs that represent them.
> Thus it is trivial to simply combine the two.

Yep, I've no problem with that.

> > Mapped across to
> > SQL, it would be hard to avoid having one table for the XFN kind of
> > person and another table for the hCard kind of person.
> Not at all.  They both could simply use URL as the index.  Done.

I'll quote Rich Newman on this one:
I use what I need to use ... because it saves me building my own
general relational framework based on URIs and literals.

> Oh in fact, Mark Pilgrim has already done this.  It's trivial.

I'm amused at Mark saying that using a browser to browse is 'so 20th
Century' if he's using SQL DBs - they are sooo 1980's ;-)

> > A secondary benefit is that the data could also be exposed RESTfully
> > directly from the store
> Again, RDF is unnecessary for that.  As Ernie's exploration of microformats
> and REST has revealed, you can do that directly and simply, without having
> to transform the data into "RDF-space" and back out.

I've not really looked at what Ernie's got together, but it's the
"directly" in your statement which is surpassed by RDF - the data can
be integrated, remixed, queried and arbitrarily presented.




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