[rdfweb-dev] FOAFnet and the future of FOAF in commercial systems

Julian Bond julian_bond at voidstar.com
Fri May 7 07:51:51 UTC 2004

Leigh.Dodds at ingenta.com wrote:
>I'm totally sympathetic to that. I'm just finding that "theoretical parsers"
>statement a bit hard to swallow seeing as I've got a concrete RDF parser sat on
>my hard drive which I've been merrily using for some time.

Right now (and for the medium term future), affordable web hosting has 
perl, PHP, MySql or ASP/MSSQL. All too often there's no shell access or 
ability to load new modules or RPMs. You mostly get an out of date PEAR 
and limited CPAN. The closest thing to an RDF parser available in those 
environments is RAP. And good as it is, it's still slow and hard work. 
You generally get a fast robust XML parser by default. There is no RDF 
parser by default[1].

Sure, if you have complete control over your environment, you can use 
Redland. If you work in Java there's Jena. But projects like Drupal or 
*Nuke (or Movable Type) that are aimed at lowest common denominator 
hosting simply can't use them.

Then there's datastores. There are huge amounts of code implemented out 
there that could use FOAF but which are engineered on top of a SQL 
datastore. Suggesting we re-engineer these to use a native RDF data 
store just makes me laugh.

[1]The RDF tool community really needs to put work into getting an RDF 
parser and datastore into the standard distributions of things like PHP. 
It took a surprisingly long time for this to happen with XML. Now it's 
RDF's turn. Some binaries for MS Windows users wouldn't go amiss either.

Julian Bond Email&MSM: julian.bond at voidstar.com
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