Brian Sletten

 Brian Sletten is a liberal arts-educated software engineer with a focus on forward-leaning technologies. He has a background as a system architect, a developer, a mentor and a trainer. His experience has spanned the online games, defense, finance and commercial domains with security consulting, network matrix switch controls, 3D simulation/visualization, Grid Computing, P2P and Semantic Web-based systems. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary. He is President of Bosatsu Consulting, Inc. and lives in Los Angeles, CA.  He focuses on web architecture, resource-oriented computing, social networking, the Semantic Web, scalable systems, security consulting and other technologies of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. 

Keep On Keeping On

“There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new order of things…. Whenever his enemies have the ability to attack the innovator, they do so with the passion of partisans, while the others defend him sluggishly, so that the innovator and his party alike are vulnerable.”
–Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)

Atlanta's flying car laneIn case you missed it, a series of recent articles have made a Big Announcement:

The Semantic Web is not here yet.

Additionally, neither are flying cars, the cure for cancer, humans traveling to Mars or a bunch of other futuristic ideas that still have merit.

A problem with many of these articles is that they conflate the Vision of the Semantic Web with the practical technologies associated with the standards. While the Whole Enchilada has yet to emerge (and may never do so), the individual technologies are finding their way into ever more systems in a wide variety of industries. These are not all necessarily on the public Web, they are simply Webs of Data. There are plenty of examples of this happening and I won’t reiterate them here.

Instead, I want to highlight some other things that are going on in this discussion that are largely left out of these narrowly-focused, provocative articles.

First, the Semantic Web has a name attached to its vision and it has for quite some time. As such, it is easy to remember and it is easy to remember that it Hasn’t Gotten Here Yet. Every year or so, we have another round of articles that are more about cursing the darkness than lighting candles.

In that same timeframe, however, we’ve seen the ascent and burn out failure of Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA), Enterprise Service Buses (ESBs), various MVC frameworks, server side architectures, etc. Everyone likes to announce $20 million sales of an ESB to clients. No one generally reports on the $100 million write-downs on failed initiatives when they surface in annual reports a few years later. So we are left with a skewed perspective on the efficacy of these big “conventional” initiatives.

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Semantic Universe Linked Data : Part I “RDFification”

Introduction

Semantic Universe has begun producing linked data for its Enterprise Data World and Semantic Technology Conferences. There were several motivations behind this effort.

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A Giant Whooshing Sound

Did you hear that sound this week? The giant whooshing sound? There was a great disturbance in the Force, as if thousands of Semantic Web academics, implementors and enthusiasts sighed in unison and their critics were silenced. I believe something wonderful has happened.

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Context + Semantics + Phones = Consumer-Oriented Semantic Applications

When most people think about "semantic" or "Semantic Web"-based software, they tend to think about applications that are quite explicit about their use of RDF, SKOS and OWL. While these types of applications are clearly becoming more popular, the vast majority of people have no clue why they should care about such things.

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Orchestration on the Edge

When people think about orchestration efforts, they tend to think about centralized, Enterprise Service Bus (ESB)-based efforts. The service elements are published into reusable components that can be stitched together into workflows. This vision of Service-Oriented Architectures (SOA) allows central metrics of use and stability, but it precludes a common use case familiar to Unix users.

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HTTP PATCH and Tracking RDF Changes

Last week’s announcement that HTTP PATCH has been adopted as an official verb via RFC 5789 has generated a lot of excitement (and questions). As a summary, the intention of each verb is:

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Finding and Visualizing Relationships

RelFinder, a new Adobe Flex-based application, has been announced by a collection of researchers from the University of Stuttgart, the Carlos III University of Madrid and the University of Duisburg-Essen. Additional contributions have been made by individuals from the University of Leipzig and AKSW.

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FOAF Spec Updated; Twitter/FOAF Bridge

While doing preparation for some upcoming talks, I noticed that the FOAF specification had been updated to version 0.97 in January. It had been quite some time since there had been activity on this vocabulary so it is good to see some love shown to it. According to the specification, some of the new changes include:

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Linked Data API introduced at London Meetup

Last week, the Second Linked Data Meetup London was held at the University of London Union. There were several compelling presentations discussed on Twitter  including the BBC’s use of Linked Data for their Wildlife Finder app. One of the many promising topics to emerge from the day was the introduction of a new Linked Data API. While there have been other Linked Data APIs (Pubby and irON), this API has the more narrow goal of lowering the bar for non-SemWeb developers to access these rich data collections. It is intended as a simple RESTful layer that returns JSON representations of RDF collections backed by a SPARQL endpoint. The API was primarily developed by Dave Reynolds, Jeni Tennison and Leigh Dodds. At the "How the Web of Data Will Be Won" talk by Jeni Tennison and John Sheridan, they emphasized that extending their successes on exposing government data in a linked fashion will require a focus on usability to attract new developers.

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