Clay Shirky's piece trashing the semantic web has stirred up quite a storm. True believers in The Power of Semantic Markup are all upset, the cynics are taking their potshots. I'm one of the cynics. I first worked with RDF back in 1998 in my Hive project. We used it to, well, describe resources. It was a total nightmare of complex syntax obfuscating some very simple data. I also side with Cory about Metacrap.

The RDF folks have had at least 5 years to prove how great the semantic web is. Where are the successes? There's a few random database applications like rpmfind. There's FOAF. And there's RSS 1.0, where you can do the same simple thing you do with RSS 0.91 or RSS 2.0 only with twice the markup.

Each of the individual applications using RDF I know of could have been done more easily with plain XML. What's the payoff for using RDF? Where are the fantastic semantic inference applications? I admit being fairly ignorant of RDF, so educate me. Point me to a practical example where the use of high concept RDF stuff has made an application significantly better.

I feel more than usually obligated to remind the reader that my personal weblog does not reflect anything about my employer.
  2003-11-10 16:25 Z