mnot’s blog

Design depends largely on constraints.” — Charles Eames

Semantic Web

Thursday, 5 April 2007

WWW2007 Developers’ Track

We’ve announced the program for this years’ Developers’ Track, and I’m very excited about the lineup.

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Thursday, 22 June 2006

Bringing Back the Link - With a Twist

Recently, there’s been a resurgence for the Link element in HTML; everything from Microformats to Atom autodiscovery is using it. This isn’t surprising; as machines start processing Web documents more, it’s necessary to use hyperlinks — the foundation of the Web — to tie resources together, without getting in users’ faces.

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Monday, 29 August 2005 0.8

I’m happy to announce that version 0.8 of sparta, a simple API for RDF, is now available. As always, feedback and suggestions are appreciated.

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Saturday, 13 August 2005

Adding Semantics to Excel with Microformats and GRDDL

When I worked in the financial industry, I quickly noticed that Excel spreadsheets contain the bulk of the data in the enterprise. It may make IT execs tear their hair out, but having the data nearby and ready for analysis is sloppy, but oh-so-effective. The challenge is to make the data reusable elsewhere.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2005

Separating the Data Model from its Serialisation

For some time, I’ve noticed that people defining XML formats spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the structure of the format. This is especially apparent in standards working groups, where hours — no, days — can be spent agonizing over whether to make something an attribute or an element.

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Friday, 1 July 2005

(Statistical) Information Wants to Be Free

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has announced that as of today, their online publications and tables are now free to download, instead of requiring an account and a per-download charge, as before.

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Friday, 29 April 2005

Data Modeling and Abstraction

Today’s release of Tiger includes a new but little-discussed framework for developers, CoreData. What’s most interesting to me is its similarities — and differences — to SDO, IBM and BEA’s* effort to abstract away the specifics of how data is stored.

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Friday, 1 April 2005

Can Somebody Explain to Me...

RDF has a simple, usable, universal model; everything’s nodes and arcs, so it avoids the problems of the Infoset, which IMO are brought by its complexity and special cases. Years of disquiet about attributes by portions of the XML cognoscenti support this view unintentionally, I think.

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Thursday, 17 March 2005 0.7

I’m happy to announce that version 0.7 of, a simple API for RDF, is now available. As always, feedback and suggestions are appreciated.

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Wednesday, 2 March 2005

Using XML in Data-Oriented Applications

So, you’ve got some data that you need to give to somebody else, and you want to use XML to do it; good for you, you’ve seen the light / hopped on the bandwagon / drunk the Kool-Aid.

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Monday, 6 December 2004 0.6: RDF (and RSS!) Made Easy

Version 0.6 of is now available. Changes include:

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Saturday, 21 August 2004 0.5: RDF made easy

Version 0.5 of is now available; with this release, I think it’s roughly feature-complete.

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Thursday, 5 August 2004

The ‘Document’ in Document-Oriented Messaging

(Another instalment in “XML Heresies.”)

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Friday, 28 May 2004

XML Infoset, RDF and Data Modelling

I’ve been talking with a few people about my previous assertion that the Infoset is a bad abstraction for data modelling, and my subsequent post about the informational properties of the Infoset.

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Saturday, 15 May 2004 0.4: Data Binding for RDF in Python

After a short pause (OK, nearly three years), I’ve released version 0.4 of

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Saturday, 24 April 2004

Madonna Dead

This is why heuristics aren’t such a hot idea.

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Tuesday, 30 December 2003

The Semantic Web’s Dirty Little Secret

Browse through the W3C Semantic Web pages and you’ll see this notice in a few different forms:

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Sunday, 7 December 2003

The New RDF

I spent a little time on the plane the other day reading the latest WD of the RDF Primer. I didn’t attempt to review the entire document set, as reading a 71 page primer is quite enough!

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Thursday, 29 May 2003

Real-World RDF

Jo Walsh has created a Semantic Web system that appeals quite strongly - a means of using RDF to map to the real world in “gonzo geographical data collection”.

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Friday, 9 May 2003

We need WikiVerbs!

Before, I was wondering about the intersection of Wikis and the Semantic Web. I’ve since done some noodling and prototyping, and the idea came together on the train home tonight.

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Monday, 28 April 2003

Wiki as Semantic Web?

Anybody else notice how you can use a Wiki like a Semantic Web engine?

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Saturday, 16 November 2002

RDF Model and Syntax

Jack William Bell makes a precise, short and readable effort at explaining why RDF is simple and important.

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