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RSS Identity

Ben Trott: We need a way to represent federated identity. Obviously, this is a can of worms, but we could standardize on FOAF being used to represent identity, and embed <foaf:Person> into RSS.

I wonder if Ben's picked his RDF parser yet? The TrackBack RDF isn't RDF in any practical sense, being constrained to something that exactly matches a regex and mostly being inaccessible to parsers, hidden away in comments, but I don't think foaf:Person will be so easy to corral.

Posted by Phil Ringnalda at

Pingback from TIG's Corner


Phil, I agree sticking the trackback RDF in comments is a pretty ugly approach (I'm not sure it's tied to a specific regex anywhere, is it?), but putting FOAF into RSS is a different issue - if RSS 1.0 is used, then RDF syntax can be used. Any RDF parser will do - take your pick.

The current status of FOAF in RSS 2.0 is "can't be done" - is that better?

(it can be done, e.g. using SSR, but the RSS 2.0 folks just seem too scared of RDF to even contemplate this)

Posted by Danny Ayers at


I've spread myself too thin.  Inspired by Tantek's "What to do with things to do", I have decided to prune.... [more]

Trackback from dive into mark


MT's autodiscovery is a regex looking for strings like trackback:ping, not for triples. A carefully crafted comment that isn't even XML would work just fine, absolutely any perfectly valid in RDF change will fail. So unless you are willing to not be autodiscovered by MT (or anything else, I'd bet), it isn't RDF, it's just a string that happens to also be RDF. Because Ben controls the spec, and the reference implementation, that's fine: if you want to play with TrackBack, you will use the prefix "trackback" for the TrackBack namespace, and that's that. However, FOAF seems to be the main RDF playground, and I think whatever he does with it, in whatever version of RSS, he'll find that he can't corral FOAF kittens as well, and will have to use an RDF parser to look for known triples, rather than a regex to look for known strings.

Posted by Phil Ringnalda at

I agree with what your saying Phil. Certainly this is a shortcoming in the current reference implementation (and MT) that needs to be addressed in the future. I suspect that the regex parser of TrackBack data is not because of a lack of understanding or disregard for RDF and namespaces. I think its more likely that it is due to the fact most MT users (and presumably others) do not have a RDF parser installed and are equally as likely not to have the expertise or ability to install one . This is only a well educated guess. Having developed the RSS Feed plugin for MT I can tell you XML::Parser availability is quite an issue. I made a concerted and painful effort to provide a fallback option using XML::Parser::Lite and hacking some semblance of namespace support on top of that. I wish it weren't true, but its what we have.

Providing alternate means of communicating TrackBack services for auto-discovery I think needs to be explored. The SixApart folks seem open to the idea.

Posted by Timothy Appnel at

Phil--my XML::FOAF module uses the RDF::Core RDF parser. You're right that, in the case of FOAF being included in RSS, we can't just rely on regex. The inclusion of the TrackBack RDF inside a comment is just a hack, as you know, to get around validation issues. At some point we'd like to move beyond that. :)

Posted by Ben at

Phil, Danny, is it just me or are you both talking a bit past each other -- and I don't say this to cause offense.

True, I'd be amazed to see FOAF in RSS 2.0. In fact, help of other technology or not, this is really bad idea to even consider. But this is a completely different beastie than the fact that the Trackback RDF is embedded in HTML.

FOAF just won't embed with Trackback RDF in an (X)HTML page. Time to drop that idea right from the start. As Danny has so correctly pointed out to me recently, FOAF is RDF playground, including recent additions of ontology language, and a couple of associated inference rules. (Though none of this is required).

However, am I missing something here? Any reason that FOAF can't be a separate RDF file and then just linked in? Either in the (X)HTML page or the RSS file? Seems to me this is what Ben's talking about. Isn't it?

Interesting conversation on RSS lately (always conversation on RSS lately): RSS just for weblogs -- does this have a subtitle of "The neverending story"?

Posted by Burningbird at

RSS: The Neverending Story

Hi, Evil Twin here! I'm not sure why, but the very mention of RSS tends to bring me out of my quiet corner, where I sit filing my nails while Burningbird does her thing. So, while she's off cleaning house and trying to get the next episode of that... [more]

Trackback from Burningbird


Ben: sorry for the slam - I even knew about XML:FOAF, just forgot. I should have gone to bed earlier.

Fixing autodiscovery: you can only do it with a major discontinuity. Otherwise producers just have to support two methods to deal with recalcitrant consumers, and consumers have to support two methods to avoid being less useful than their competitors. If you decide to go with a discontinuity, I'd appreciate it if you did it in July, when I'm going offline for several weeks.

Danny and I talking past each other: I have high hopes that he and I will end up like an old married couple, only needing a few code words to bring up whole long arguments. I think mine will be "show me the app".

Posted by Phil Ringnalda at

Heh, talking past indeed. Like one of that old married couple, I'm still rambling on about an attribute that went missing 50 years before...

As it happens, I was mis-remembering trackback pretty badly (I've only really skimmed the material, not tried building anything). Ah well.

Re. corralling FOAF (/embed foaf:Person into RSS) - I can't say I feel comfortable with the idea, but I'm sure this could be done fairly cleanly to target an XML level parser in an RSS 2.0-like format. Yes, it would be better to use full RDF/XML, linked in as Shelley suggests (there could be other stuff in the file too). But if we're only talking about producing one or two triples, somehow inlined in an  RSS profile then perhaps just the odd XML element could do it.

Posted by Danny at

RSS Roundup

Craziness going on in the RSS world.  As usual, a good bit of it is happening over at Sam Ruby's blog: RSS Profile Don Box's RSS Profile RSS Identity [See also Ben Trott's entry]...

Excerpt from Matt Croydon::postneo at

I never had your attribute!

Two ways to go, depending on what you want: if you want to trigger a separate RDF parser based FOAF explorer, then linking makes perfect sense. If what you want is an element that means name, rather than RFC822 email address with name in a comment, and an element that means homepage (or the newly added weblog), then, as Danny says, why not borrow them from FOAF and put them in XML-based RSS? I was a little uneasy with the idea of borrowing elements/namespaces from the RDF-XMLization of something without bringing the whole RDF baggage along, when Sam was talking about using the RSS 1.0 namespace just for embedding generic RSS elements in SOAP, but with danbri saying "why not?", I say "why not grab elements from his baby?"

Posted by Phil Ringnalda at

I've been embedding my FOAF info in my feeds for quite awhile:

look under the dc:creator element.


Posted by Eric at

Estándares blogueros "patas arriba"

Ayer comentaba las propuestas que se están realizando para unificar el API de acceso remoto a las bitácoras. Hoy me encuentro con la propuesta de unificación y simplificación del formato de intercambio de titulares. Los chicos de SixApart proponen...

Excerpt from Desarrollo de Blogalia at

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