logo-w3c-mobile-lg.pngWeb 3.0, the semantic web, is gaining in both popularity and adoption, but the pace isn’t rapid enough for some. With the recent move by web standards organization, W3C, to launch a RDF Working Group that will enhance the resource description framework (RDF), the standard may become more attractive to the masses.

Resource Description Framework….Eh?

RDF is the core technology behind the semantic web. It is a machine-readable, XML-based language that provides a model for data and syntax so that independent parties can easily use and exchange data. Sites using RDF can provide additional contextual details and establish relationships between content.

RDF Example

For example, an article about me might indicate that Josette Rigsby writes for CMSWire. RDF allows you to indicate that the two topics, Josette Rigsby and CMSWire, are connected by the "employed" relationship or:

SUBJECT: Josette Rigsby
PREDICATE: employed at
OBJECT: http://www.cmswire.com

In RDF, the predicate is also represented using URI, but unlike objects, predicates are selected from an established list of URIs categorized by topic. For example:

The Working Group

The recently formed RDF Working Group will be enhancing the standard to include many of the features that the community has identified as important for interoperability -- based on experience with the 2004 version of the standard, but without breaking existing deployments.

The working group charter includes a set of required and time permitting features the team will be implementing. Required features include:

  • Standardized Turtle syntax, which allows RDF to written in a compact natural text formal
  • Defined and standardized JSON Syntax for RDF
  • Standardized model and semantics for multiple graphs and graphs stores
  • Deprecated RDF features that are not widely implemented
  • Updated RDF documentation to include more examples
  • Reconciled core RDF documents with semantic features and extensions defined by other W3C Recommendations since 2004

In addition to the required features, the team also has a list of “time permitting” features that will be implemented if possible.

What This Means

While Web 2.0 is focused on social networking, wikis and community building, Web 3.0, enabled by semantic technologies, promises to make the entire web a searchable database. This means:

  • Improved natural language search
  • Enhanced data mining
  • Machine readable content that enables computers to learn

The tasks being undertaken by the working group, like inclusion of a JSON syntax, should speed adoption by making RDF more accessible to everyday web developers and get us closer to the vision of Web 3.0.