RDF in Mozilla 2

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I read last week Brendan Eich's post on Mozilla 2, where he said that with Moz2 they hope that they can "get rid of RDF, which seems to be the main source of "Mozilla ugliness"". Danny Ayers commented on this, saying that RDF "should be nurtured not ditched."

Well, RDF in Mozilla always was crappy, and it was based on a pre-1999-standard RDF. No one ever took up the task -- remind you, it's open source -- to dive into the RDF inside Mozilla and repair and polish it, make it a) compatible to the 2004 RDF standard, (why didn't RDF get version numbers, by the way?) and b) clean up the code and make it faster.

My very first encounter with RDF was through Mozilla. I was diving into Mozilla as a platform for application development, which seemed like a very cool idea back then (maybe it still is, but Mozilla isn't really moving into this direction). RDF was prominent there: as an internal data structure for the developed applications. Let's repeat that: RDF, which was developed to allow the exchange of data on the web, was used within Mozilla as an internal data structure.

Surprisingly, they had performance issues. And the code was cluttered with URIs.

I still think it is an interesting idea. In last year's Scripting for the Semantic Web workshop I presented an idea on integrating semantic technologies tightly into your programming. Marian Babik and Ladislav Hluchy picked that idea up and expanded and implemented the work much better than I ever could.

It would be very interesting how this combination could really be put to work. An internal knowledge base for your app that is queried via SPARQL. Doesn't sound like the most performant idea. But then -- imagine not having one tool accessing that knowledge base. But rather a system architecture with a number of tools accessing that knowledge base. Adding data to existing data. Imagine just firing up a newly installed Adressbook, and -- shazam! -- all your data is available. You don't like it anymore? Switch back. No changes lost. Everything is just views.

But then again, didn't the DB guys try to do the same? Yes, maybe. But with semantic web technology, shouldn't it be easier to do it, because it is meant to integrate?

Just thinking. Would love to see a set of tools based on a plugabble knowledge base. I'm afraid, performance would suck. I hope we will see.

Originally published on Semantic Nodix

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