[foaf-protocols] Conversation with Henry about WebID

Melvin Carvalho melvincarvalho at gmail.com
Mon Sep 20 16:16:37 CEST 2010

Had a conversation with henry discussing various points that have been
discussed lately:

Here's what we talked about

1. Ease of publication of Public Key
Essentially we would like to associate a webid with a public key, as
accurately, and in a way that make life as easy as possible for publishers.

I argued that this is an important enabler to getting wider publication and
adoption of public keys on the web, and webid in general.

Pushback from google has been to simplify predicate names to make things
easier for them, leading to publication of all gmial accounts as FOAF.

Feedback from facebook, who considered using FOAF, wanted to have all their
term in one namespace, leading to wide adoption of RDFa and OGP.

The public key is normally just one variable triple with some scaffold
around it.  Simplifying the scaffold would *seem* to be desirable, tho
ideally it would be good to have some push back from large communities
driving things.

*2. Direction of cert:identity

*We both seemed to agree that a 'rev' association between webid and
cert:identity seemed unintuitive, and maybe something to reverse.

Henry suggested the community trying to come up with a good consensus here.

*3. WOT Ontology*

I suggested there's an overlap between wot:PubKey and some of the ontologies
we're using.

Henry rightly pointed out that this should not be drawn into the WebID spec,
but is a different conversation, and also that some of the WOT terms could
be misleading.

I'm going to look further at this, with a view to trying to help bring out
WOT 0.2 in parallel, but it's work that's not a pre requisite for the WebID
protocol, and we should not distract too much.

*4. FOAF Vocab

*I argued that WebID is tied to foaf:Agent already an that public key should
become a first class citizen of your FOAF profile just as phone number, and
email is today.

My suggestion has been to try for some top level shortcuts into FOAF which
could possibly encode a public key in as little as one triple (for example
using PEM).  This is perhaps similar to FOAF adding skype as a shortcut
triple or other such items.

There's obviously pros and cons to this approach, but something to think

This aside, it's important that we continue to work on interoperability and
implementations.  I've said that I'm happy to support varied encodings of
public keys, as I have to do the work as a one-off in a library, but the
benefit is potentially possible to a large number of publishers.

Feedback welcome!
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