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

Manu Sporny msporny at digitalbazaar.com
Fri Aug 6 01:28:54 CEST 2010

On 08/02/2010 08:50 AM, Seth Russell wrote:
> I don't know if this has been already dealt with or not, but i think it
> is important if you intend WebIDs to be used by people.  First point of
> information:   arn't you're giving out WebID's, hopefully short ones,
> which people pass around in various contexts to various agents to
> identify themselves?  Well if that is the case, then me thinks that is
> should be **mandated** that if a person hits one of those WebID's with
> their browser, not knowing anything about content negoition, that the
> WewID URL will respond with a profile in a human friendly way.   But
> gentelmen, i don't think that is what is happening now.   Some respond
> back in XML ... others in JSON ... very few of your WebId respond back
> with a page which an actually person would want to read.   So is it
> possible that you guys will consider actually putting that mandate in
> the specification?  


I agree with you at a high level. I think it's important for WebID URLs
to be human readable. We don't need it for interoperability, but it will
certainly help when explaining that "a WebID is just a web page" to
those new to the concept.

We must make sure that we don't get too wrapped up in the technical
details to understand the human problem that we're trying to solve. We
need a clear way to communicate the concept of WebID to non-technical

If we can say, "just plug your WebID into your browser and you'll be
able to see the WebID description", then we will have gone a long way
towards helping people understand that WebID is a concept that they can

This is the reason that I think that we should just settle on XHTML+RDFa
as the only required serialization format on both sides, but I do
understand that there are others on here that are tied to RDF/XML for
various reasons.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: WebApp Security - A jQuery Javascript-native SSL/TLS library

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