[foaf-dev] What is the best way to edit a FOAF profile?

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Thu May 5 15:12:29 CEST 2011

On 5 May 2011 15:02, Leigh Dodds <leigh.dodds at talis.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> On 5 May 2011 11:12, Stefano Bortoli <bortoli at disi.unitn.it> wrote:
>> Have you checked out the foaf-o-matic?  http://www.foaf-o-matic.org/

Yep, foaf-o-matic / foaf-a-matic, very subtle spelling difference...

> I wasn't aware of that. Looks really neat!
> A reference to the (hopelessly outdated, I know) original wouldn't
> have gone amiss though :(

How hopeless is hopeless? I remember once I tried customising a
version for foaf site but never got some part working (xslt?).

Would you consider putting it in Github where folk could work on
updating it? The naming vocab has improved a little since
(PortableContacts allignment etc).

The big problem with all these tools was always: what to do after the
file has been generated. Asking end users for FTP passwords is not a
good plan, ... (a) they don't usually have them (b) they don't usually
know about them anyway (c) it's not very good security practice to
encourage users to give such info away... So we always had this
awkward limit with self-hosted FOAF, ... that we could generate a file
for people but getting it uploaded, ... and linked, was tough.

In recent years, rise of OAuth gives some hope. And WebID is somehow
related. But neither give us the protocol for uploading files. That's
more AtomPub's job, and AtomPub doesn't seem yet to be wildly
successful, at least it isn't well deployed with OAuth. If it was, ...
we could upload FOAF files either as attachments to 'blog posts', or
in RDFa form, directly as blog posts. The issue then becomes how does
a dated blog post get hyperlinked from someone's homepage. But that's
a much smaller problem at least, ... and there are other discovery
mechanisms possible (eg. hyperlinks from the post to directories that
check http referers...).

The self-published FOAF model was really a bootstrapping idea that got
the idea out there, rather than something that worked very well. In
lots of ways it has been replaced by 'generate FOAF from a big
database of user profiles' approaches, ... but with those we have lost
a lot of the individuality and freedom of expression that makes
RDF/FOAF interesting. Ok, interesting and frustrating to code with ;)
... perhaps wikis are halfway between the two.

If Wordpress + Drupal both had a modern working AtomPub+OAuth posting
mechanism, I think we'd see potentially a lot more interesting things
happening with one site generating pages to post on another. FOAF
sure, but also music/tv profiles, ...




More information about the foaf-dev mailing list