XMP and microformats revisited: "

Yesterday I exercised poetic license when I suggested that Adobe’s Extensible metadata platform (XMP) was not only the spiritual cousin of microformats like hCalendar but also, perhaps, more likely to see widespread use in the near term. My poetic license was revoked, though, in a couple of comments:

Mike Linksvayer: How someone as massively clued-in as Jon Udell could be so misled as to describe XMP as a microformat is beyond me.

Danny Ayers: Like Mike I don’t really understand Jon’s references to microformats - I first assumed he meant XMP could be replaced with a uF.

Actually, I’m serious about this. If I step back and ask myself what are the essential qualities of a microformat, it’s a short list:

  1. A small chunk of machine-readable metadata,
  2. embedded in a document.

Mike notes:

XMP is embedded in a binary file, completely opaque to nearly all users; microformats put a premium on (practically require) colocation of metadata with human-visible HTML.

Yes, I understand. And as someone who is composing this blog entry as XHTML, in emacs, using a semantic CSS tag that will enable me to search for quotes by Mike Linksvayer and find the above fragment, I’m obviously all about metadata coexisting with human-readable HTML. And I’ve been applying this technique since long before I ever heard the term microformats — my own term was originally microcontent.

(Via Jon Udell.)

I believe Jon is acknowledging the fact that the propagation of metadata in "Binary based" Web data sources is no different to the microformats based propagation that is currently underway in full swing across the "Text based" Web data sources realm. He is reiterating the fact that the Web is self-annotating (exponentially) by way of Metadata Embedding. And yes, what he describes is a similar to Microformats in substance and propagation style :-)

Here is what I believe Jon is hoping to see:

  1. Binary files become valid data sources for Metadata oriented query processing. Technically I mean a binary file becomes a valid data source from which RDF Instance could be generated on the fly.
  2. Enhanement or unveiling of the Data Web by way of meshups that combine metadata from an array or data sources (not just the XML, (X)HTML, or RDF variety)
  3. The ability to use an array of query languages and techniques to construct these meshups

My little "Hello Data Web!" meme was about demonstrating a view that Danny has sought for a while: unobtrusive meshing of microformats and RDF via GRDDL and SPARQL binding that simply eliminates the often perceived "RDF Tax". Danny, Jon, myself, and many others have always understood that making the Data Web (Web of RDF Instance Data) more of a Force (Star Wars style) is the key to unravelling the power of the "Web as a Database". Of course, we also tend the describe our nirvana in different ways that sometimes obscures the fundamental commonality of vision that we all share.

Personally, I believe everyone should simply "feel the force" or observe "the bright and dark sides of the force" that is RDF. When this occurs en masse there will be a global epiphany (similar to what happened around the time of the initial unveiling of the Web of Hypertext). Jon's meme brings the often overlooked realm of binary based metadata sources into the general discourse.

JBinary Files as bona fide Data Web URIs (i.e. Metadata Sources) is much closer than you think :-) I should have my "Hello Data Web of Binary Data Sources" unveiled very soon!