[foaf-protocols] First WebID Teleconference minutes (July 27th 2010)

Kingsley Idehen kidehen at openlinksw.com
Mon Aug 2 18:30:48 CEST 2010

Nathan wrote:
> Melvin Carvalho wrote:
>> On 2 August 2010 13:54, Henry Story <henry.story at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> In the end what matters is that we can all interoperate, and that we can
>>> build cool apps.
>> +1 to interoperate and apps ...
> The interoperability issue transcends WebID though, and WebID only 
> solves part of a much bigger problem.
> Efforts like JSON-LD and XSPARQL and indeed all others aim to address 
> the other issues in the overall RWW.
> IMHO 'WebID' is not one thing, what is commonly referred to now as WebID 
> and formally as FOAF+SSL is one case for a group of different things.
> What is a WebID?
> - a WebID is a URI which Identifies an Agent, where upon dereferencing 
> of that URI you receive machine readable data.
>   Also being Human Readable is in some cases beneficial but not required.
Required for practical purposes.

We have to keep Human and Machine readability on same level here.

Machine readable on its own always fails. Look at the history behind 

Anyone should be able to drop a WebID (Agent URI) into a browser's 
address bar and get back a human readable page that showcases the WebID 
as the Subject of the Structured Profile oriented Descriptor.
> What is this protocol?
> - A party in a +TLS connection presents a Public Key together with a 
> WebID, ownership of the Public Key is first established, then ownership 
> of the WebID is then established.

What about:

Validity of the x.509 certificate is established, and then after that 
ownership of the WebID courtesy of the validated x.509 certificate's 
public key being present in the structured profile document.
> To me, that's 2 distinct things, WebID needing specified first, then the 
> protocol specified afterwards.

Yes, we have an Identifier and a Discovery Protocol that includes 
verification re. WebID and WebID Protocol :-)
> Anything out with the above comes in to mapping the protocol to specific 
> set(s) of technologies (like RSAv3 Cert with subjectAltName, like HTTP+TLS)
> Further, any stipulation of what classifies as Machine Readable Data (ie 
> only this or that serialization of RDF can be provided when a 'WebID' is 
> dereferenced) will further limit and inhibit the protocol (even though 
> it doesn't feel like it). Again, this can be addressed by providing 1 or 
> more mappings to common serializations.
> I've said this many times, but we're trying to build a stable 
> interoperable protocol on an unstable foundation. The SemWeb and Linked 
> Data serialization and format issues are inherited, and that leaves only 
> two approaches for 'WebID'/this protocol:
> 1: define most of it as abstract then provide mappings to techs.
> 2: fix the protocol to a single format of mrd.
> 2 kinda defeats the purpose unless you tie to RDFa. Anything in between 
> will pretty much ensure the death of this protocol and certainly ensure 
> the interoperability is not globally possible.
We can stay abstract and achieve interoperability. Implementors should 
use exploit HTTP :-)

> Best,
> Nathan
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Kingsley Idehen	      
President & CEO 
OpenLink Software     
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