Il documento in questione parla di molte cose e iniziare da un estratto preso dal mezzo non e’ certo un buon inizio, ma non resisto: e’ il cuore del Web2.0 se vogliamo e della rivoluzione che pian piano di soppiatto avremo nei prossimi anni nel Web…
Una cosa che ho gia’ accennato, il famoso Web of data, o Open Data….

Web users are becoming increasingly more savvy, and they have begun to recognise that their ongoing contributions in whatever form, e.g. product reviews, are an important success factor for these businesses.
In short, users are coming to recognise that they are providing data for free, so why should it be locked into that site alone?
After Open Source, Open Data
The growing desire for web users to maintain ownership of their data, plus the increasing willingness for businesses to share their data to benefit from the network effects that web services can engender can be seen as a natural second wave of “open-ness”.
First open source; now open data

This second wave has the potential to be a much bigger and profound movement as it is of immediate relevance to all frequent web users, rather than just software engineers, hackers, businesses, etc.

The pressure for information to be free, is translating into pressure for sites to expose open services for users to interact with.
Similar pressures are leading to standardisation of data formats; web services alone aren’t enough the data must be portable and easily exchangeable. XML and RDF are both core technologies that facilitate this exchange, with specific vocabularies, such as FOAF (description of users) and RSS (syndication of content) addressing particular needs.

Questo e’ proprio uno dei passaggi chiave per capire la direzione che conviene prendere per rendere le applicazioni Web piu’ evolute e cosi’ anche l’esperienza Web stessa…
Per non parlare che creando un sub-strato RDF si crea anche quel livello fondamentale sul quale poggia la visione del Semantic Web…

Con un solo approccio si potrebbero avere ben due vantaggi, uno immediato e uno nel tempo…

Passiamo ora a vedere di cosa si parla in questo paper…

Il tema fondamentale e’ quello di spiegare il nuovo diffondersi dei Web services secondo la filosofia REST e di come questi servizi possono giovarsi dell’uso di RDF e di FOAF nel semplificare la vita agli utenti.

Il testo nella sua parte centrale fa l’analisi oltre che la spiegazione della applicazione sociale delle principali applicazioni sociali e delle loro API…

Confrontando la loro aderenza ai principi base del REST approach e delle applicazioni sociali… e scoprendo ben presto che pochi hanno compreso tutto del REST.. per non parlare dell’uso di RDF…

Ma la parte che volevo accennare e’ la parte finale, dove vengono discussi anche i vari principi del REST approach…e si parla di RDF e di FOAF…

In pratica vengono offerti dei tool e dei metodi basati su FOAF come mezzo collegante l’utente e i servizi a cui e’ sottoscritto… usando RDF come mezzo di comunicazione…

Una delle parti piu’ interessanti infatti e’ proprio questa: non vi e’ mai capitato di pensare se non ci fossero altri modi per loggarsi nei portali al posto di dare sempre in continuazione alcuni dei vostri dati…possibile che non ci sia un modo automatico per farlo?

Exposure of Personal Data

Of the social content sites that do expose a public view of a users profile, none share any unsecured information such as email addresses.
In most cases the data consists of name, homepage or blog URL, and often location (e.g. city, state, country). This is enough to provide some basic context about the user and relate their profile to submissions to the site.

Several of the sites also support a “groups” feature allowing users to aggregate themselves into communities of interest. Group listings, include the name of the group and its members are often added to the API.

As noted above this kind of basic personal description data could benefit from some standardisation across sites
[…]

Questo e’ vero: alla fine in tutti questi servizi noi come utenti siamo identificati dagli stessi parametri… perche’ quindi ripeterli ad ogni servizio?

Quindi viene presentata una visione di massima per collegare semanticamente questi servizi…

Connecting Social Content Services

This final section of the paper introduces some simple techniques that, exploiting the power of the REST architecture, the RDF data model, and common RDF vocabularies, can be used as the basis for loose integration and data sharing between social content services.

This architecture is based on several principles that build upon one another:

* A common RDF vocabulary for describing people, their activities and interests, i.e. FOAF
* Support for importing FOAF data into social content applications
* Use of user's self-descriptions as a form of "service connector" enabling ad hoc integration of social content applications

Lasciamo perdere il primo punto e concentriamoci sugli altri due…
E partiamo da una precisazione su FOAF…

The FOAF (“Friend of a Friend”) project has a very similar aim in mind: the definition of an RDF vocabulary for expressing metadata about people, their interests, relationships and activities FOAFIntro.
While the name betrays its origin as a format for describing social networks, it’s real utility is as a general framework for connecting together more specialised vocabularies.[…]The basic framework of the FOAF vocabulary are people, groups, organizations, and images. This more than meets the requirements of the social content applications reviewed here, while still granting each application the ability to extend and supplement the vocabulary as necessary.

Una volta chiarito questo, e’ chiaro che all’aumentare della disponibilita’ di profili FOAF, questi ultimi potranno essere usati come nostro passaporto e collante dei servizi e delle risorse collegate alla nostra persona…

As the number of people creating and hosting their own FOAF profile continues to increase, and as more applications start to support the exporting of FOAF profiles based on user registration data, the natural next step is to consider importing this data into applications.

The first and most immediate benefit will be on the user registration process. Much of the work of required in filling out an registration form can be automated: simply allow a user to point to their current FOAF profile (whether hand-crafted or exported from another service) and populate the form accordingly.

However, as well as reading basic user metadata, applications may also mine the provided FOAF profile for interests, e.g. to allow recommendation of relevant groups or features, and also to import additional details such as relationship data (friends, colleagues, etc). Not only does initial registration become easier, but the service can become indispensable to the user much quicker by tailoring itself to the data contained (or harvestable via) a users self-description.

In fact a service may go so far as to avoid creating and managing user data locally, instead storing only a URL of the users FOAF profile, and simply reading and caching data as it is required. This provides users with much more control over their data, making it easier to update multiple services when information changes.

Ci sono due grossi punti qui da tenere a mente: la possibilita’ di estrarre alcuni dei nostri dati anagrafici in modo del tutto automatico passando l’URL del nostro profilo FOAF…e l’aspetto del controllo decentralizzato dei dati stessi… da parte nostra: una gran bella conquista,no?

Questi sono alcuni degli aspetti interessanti dell’articolo: ne consiglio caldamente la lettura per capire quale’ la giusta direzione da prendere nello sviluppare le nuove web application… pronte tra l’altro al Semantic Web - in realta’ lo sarebbero gia’ in uno stadio beta :)

Riferimenti:

-> Connecting Social Content Services using FOAF, RDF and REST