Re: Future of GNOME: Semantics


Thanks for your reply. I figured that people had read enough shiny use
cases, so I tried to keep those to a minimum, but sure.

Let's say you use Evolution's address book to manage all your contacts
and you just bought a new smartphone which only supports a proprietary
address book format. You want to move your contacts to the new phone -
what do you do? Conduit has knowledge of which format is used by the
phone, but has no way to convert the data.

Today, chances are that you will have to do something like exporting the
Evolution address book to the .vcf (vCard) format and then searching for
and downloading an application which is able to convert from .vcf to the
proprietary format and then finally move over the converted file to the
phone. Most likely, coming up with the steps involved in this task is
either too complex or too boring for many users.

Now let's say that Evolution store its address book in the NEPOMUK
Contact Ontology (NCO) format in a central RDF repository and your new
phone support the Friend-of-a-Friend (FOAF) format. You do a query for
your Evolution contacts in Conduit and request them to be moved to the
phone. Conduit (or a lower level component) detects that the source and
destination formats differ, automatically search the Web for a matching
ontology alignment, map the NCO contacts into FOAF and move them to the

RDF can automate many such processes, but a few components would be
required (or at least be very handy) at the system level such as a
central RDF repository and an ontology mapping service.

Another idea I personally find interesting is that of semantic user
interfaces, somewhat as proposed at: (this particular paper was
written without RDF in mind, but the idea is the same)

Instead of having applications defining exact sizes and positions of a
set of widgets, the application express what type of input and output it
needs using an RDF vocabulary for user interfaces. A system component
then transforms the RDF description into user interface, perhaps
according to a personalized style or a particular access method.

For instance, the UI semantics may be transformed into HTML and
presented as a form to the user on his mobile phone. This isn't really
possible with standard GTK, because information (semantics) is hardcoded
into the exact positioning and dimensioning of the widgets by the
programmer. This information might be lost on a screen with different
proportions or an output device without proportions at all
(screen-readers etc.).

lør, 14 06 2008 kl. 19:54 +0200, skrev Olav Vitters:
> Could you turn this into at least one concrete example? I don't
> understand what you're proposing aside from 'use RDF everywhere'.

Anders Feder <lists anders feder dk>

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