July 24th, 2004


DOAP - Description of a project

A couple days ago, edd announced the completion of a relatively stable version of his DOAP project. DOAP is designed to allow for the easy description, in RDF, of projects in a standardized way. This vocabulary contains information like maintainers, repositories, branches, programming languages, etc.

Naturally, I find this an interesting project. I'm constantly working with open source projects, and digging through webpages and so on to find CVS repositories, maintainer contact info, and the like just isn't my idea of fun. This project could resolve all that by describing the information in a nice, easy way that's standardized, so you can then use RDF tools to parse it.

I didn't really get involved in the project until stork created the DOAP-a-matic, which let me create what edd has labelled as "adopter #1"'s DOAP file: SDLRoads. (It was later established that stork was adopter #0, typical for computer programmers with their 0 indexed arrays.)

Now, in addition to the creator, there is a viewer, which uses XSLT to format the page: DOAP-viewer. From the #rdfig chump:

stork: Test it, try it, love it, criticize it!; crschmidt: (I think it's pretty damn cool); stork: DOAP XHTML Extractor : http://mouettes.balbinus.net/doap-xhtml-extractor.php; stork: the XHTML Extractor takes as an input an HTML file, and looks for a <link rel="meta" type="application/rdf+xml" title="DOAP" href="..." />, (cf Edd's spec, http://usefulinc.com/doap);
(2004-07-23 15:32) [Semantic Web Interest Group Scratchpad]

In addition, stork created a bookmarklet. If you want to pull the information about a project up using DOAP, it's simple: just click the button, and it will open right up.

To use, just drag the following link to your browser bookmarks bar, and click on any page which uses a DOAP <link> tag in the page, which will then lead you to the viewer.

Edit: LiveJournal doesn't allow javascript, so this didn't look like much of a link to those of you reading it on LJ. You can view the bookmarklet at the doap bookmarklet page.
DOAP Viewer

All in all, the project has come together very quickly, with a lot of pushing along from stork. I want to thank stork for getting me interested in this, edd for coming up with it, and everyone else for supporting it.

Add DOAP to your project today!


I've dumped Trackback for this journal for a number of reasons:

  • It wasn't used

  • It wasn't perfect

  • It was annoying

First reason is that it simply wasn't used. Although I think that trackback is a cool idea in principle, in practice, it has a long way to go because the number of tools out there that support it is simply too few. I tried to make it easier for people, but since most of my readers (and therefore, most people who would link to me) are LJ users, pinging doesn't happen. There's too much work involved, and the people posting simply don't see a return. In addition to that, Technorati does all the work of trackback without any of the effort, making it largely redundant.

It didn't work perfectly. I used a mathematical function to calculate the entry number and send it to a wordpress post, but that for some reason didn't work on some older posts. More importantly, it required me to keep the two sources in sync, something I was doing manually because I couldn't get the wordpress->lj working and was too lazy to figure out why. In addition, because of the limitations that LJ has on text - comment text, for example, is stripped - including the RDF to have auto detection was not how it should be, and I didn't test it to even make sure it worked. So, it just was hacky and ugly and a mess.

It was annoying to have the longer text, as well as to try and make people click the links, which they never did anyway. It was annoying to have it there and have people not know what it was. It was annoying to have the text that wasn't used taking up space.

With technorati playing the same role as trackback, and trackback really being useless in general, I'm dumping it. If you want to ping me, use the wordpress (http://crschmidt.net/wordpress). Otherwise, just comment and let me know. That's easier most of the time anyway.

Sad that trackback didn't work. I wonder if it can be reused for other things that could use it more effectively.