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

Kingsley Idehen kidehen at openlinksw.com
Fri Aug 6 12:10:19 CEST 2010

Manu Sporny wrote:
> 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?  
> Seth,
> 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
> folks.
> 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
> grasp.
> 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

All roads lead to: Machine and Human Readable representation for this to 

I don't buy into the fact that engineers grok or even like RDF/XML, in 
my experience (trying to get people to work with RDF/XML) far far from it!

I still believe by separating Semantics from Syntax we can make the need 
for HTML+RDFa implicit since it address the dual goals of Human and 
Machine readability.

On the Web and all roads to success (i.e. uptake) go through HTML. Thus, 
by not being explicit about syntax you end up with HTML as the natural 



Kingsley Idehen	      
President & CEO 
OpenLink Software     
Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
Twitter/Identi.ca: kidehen 

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