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Data above the level of a single site

About LML, Danny Ayers asks why use it when there are formats such as XHTML and OXO.

So please tell me again why should I use LML rather than either/both of these..?

Fair question. I had a similar conversation with a few guys from work about this. We all agreed that a markup for lists was, well, sort of absurd. Put it this way, if LML was published on April 1st, a lot of people would think it was a joke. Which to some degree it is.

But. We've seen those kinds of arguments play out with formats like RSS and FOAF. Which format, or the absurdity of actually bothering to define a markup, don't matter so much as the fact that we are inundated with lists. The thing about lists is that they have a lot of untapped value. I believe a lot of information gets left behind when all you have to work with are <ol>, <ul> and <li>. In terms of moving up the semantic and social software food chain, lists + metadata are a natural next step. Arguably an Amazon wishlist or a list of people on LinkedIn have more value if they're decoupled from the sites themselves. Passing them around and sharing them might be cool. Much more important than using LML itself is getting people to turn their attention to mining this seam of data. Really, it plays to Tim O'Reilly's take that the future of lock-in is about data, not APIs.

Danny mentions RDF. I have a RDF/XML variant (dc:subject, foaf) that might get done next weekend - I'll definitely being publishing it. As to why I shipped a vanilla XML format first, let me say this. In many respects RDF is an excellent choice for working with this kind of data as it has comes with a linking model, exactly what you want for merging data sets; the sticking point is that operating over RDF is still a big ask for a lot of people. At some point you have to stop writing things down and do something with the data. Doing with RDF or the other Semantic Web formats still requires a bigger commitment that most are willing to undertake.

To give you an idea of how low hanging list fruit is, the LML 'spec' (if you can call it that) took about 4 hours to write. I figure the RDF version will take about twice that.


re comments: I'm currently going 12 rounds with an MT upgrade and I think they're fixed now... anyway trackback is king ;)


January 8, 2005 03:08 PM

Comments

jsled
(January 8, 2005 06:38 PM #)

Unfortunately, the TrackBack URI presented in the page is 404, and the previous post doesn't even present a TrackBack URI....

In any case, I've done a bit of thinking about LML, XML and RDF over here: http://asynchronous.org/blog/archives/2005/01/08/lml_xml_and_rdf.html

Suzan Foster
(January 8, 2005 09:45 PM #)

@jsled : I couldn't get your rdf/xml version through the rdf validator, so did some tweaking until it did. Here's the result:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<rdf:RDF xmlns:i="http://www.dehora.net/lml/2005/01#" xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" xmlns:rdfs="http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#">

<i:lml i:version="001">
<i:author i:name="Bill de hra" />
<i:author i:name="jsled" />
<i:category i:name="rdf" i:subject="http://www.w3.org/RDF/"/>
<i:category i:name="markup" i:subject="http://www.w3.org/XML/"/>
<i:published i:when="2005-01-08T10:57-0500" />
<i:changed i:when="2005-01-08T10:57-0500" />
<rdfs:seeAlso rdf:resource="http://asynchronous.org/ns/lml"/>
</i:lml>

<i:list rdf:about="http://asynchronous.org/ns/lml" i:ordered="yes">
<i:items>
<rdfs:Collection>
<rdf:li rdf:resource="http://www.dehora.net/journal/2005/01/lml_list_markup_language.html"/>
<rdf:li rdf:resource="http://dannyayers.com/archives/2005/01/08/list-markup-language/"/>
<rdf:li rdf:resource="http://www.dehora.net/journal/2005/01/data_above_the_level_of_a_single_site.html"/>
</rdfs:Collection>
</i:items>
</i:list>

<i:item rdf:about="http://www.dehora.net/journal/2005/01/lml_list_markup_language.html" i:content="original post"/>
<i:item rdf:about="http://dannyayers.com/archives/2005/01/08/list-markup-language/" i:content="Danny's response"/>
<i:item rdf:about="http://www.dehora.net/journal/2005/01/data_above_the_level_of_a_single_site.html" i:content="followup to Danny"/>
</rdf:RDF>

Suzan Foster
(January 8, 2005 09:48 PM #)

jsled
(January 9, 2005 01:21 AM #)

Suzan:

Thank you for the feedback.

Part of my intent was to get as close as close as possible to the specific XML format Bill layed out. As well, I'm still not quite convinced about crossing some abstract barrier between i:href and rdfs:Resource, though I have begun to puzzle it out...

As well, I don't know what rdfs:Collection is; it's not mentioned in the RDF Schema specification, and I personally prefer the RDF Collections paradigm [first/rest/nill].

As far as the RDF Validator, I suspect that it might be because I took a specific liberty with the RDF/XML serialization. I though it only fair, after all the harm RDF/XML has done to me.

Suzan Foster
(January 9, 2005 11:39 AM #)

@jsled:

Sorry, I meant to use rdfs:Container. I see your point regarding the Collection. However, I wonder if it isn't worth using RDF native containers and lose the i:ordered property.

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