Archive for March, 2008

Semantify Hacks – Creating a your own RDF schema using Dapper

March 26, 2008

So last Thursday’s release of Semantify was a great success. Marshall Kirkpatrick from RWW  did a great job explaining a rather geeky product in an understandable fashion – thanks Marshall. As we go about semantifying the web, I wanted to point out something that may not be apparent immediately. Basically with Semantify, every Dapp becomes a valid RDF schema that is host on Dapper and can be used anywhere by you, even without Semantify.

Let’s see how using the good old MSN Search Results Dapp. If MSN would’ve deployed Semantify on their search results page (note the irony..), this is what Yaho’s semantic crawler would’ve seen. If you’ll look into the source code of this proxied page, you’ll notice the default RDF schema is defined by the Dapper “dapp-scheme” webservice. While you can choose to override this default schema by defining your own using the $namespace and $scheme variables in the Semantify code snippet, if you don’t, Dapper will use a schema created from your Dapp automatically. So now, building a Dapp means you also built your own RDF compatible schema, that you can use wherever by just pointing to the webservice:

This may be useful for those people who would like to easily generate and use a schema focused around a particular subject where a wide-spread, all-encompassing standard has not emerged, or in cases where the currently available schemes are not good enough.

Finally, let me leave you with the following thought. Up to now, close to 50K APIs have been built using Dapper with hundreds of new ones every day. That means we have under our hands already some 50K schemes for tens of thousands of sites. Hopefully in the near future we’ll start commenting on what can be learned from this set.


Yahoo: Semantic Web is the ultimate SEO strategy! Dapper: Semantify Your Site

March 20, 2008

In the last year, Jon and I had the opportunity to present on several occasions our take on the progress and development of the semantic web (next show: Bangalore). During this talk, one of the take home messages we try to convey is that the “limited success” of the semantic web vision has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with economics. Over the last 10 years, Mr. Joe “site owner” has had no incentive to even learn about RDF, let alone go ahead and build his site as semantic web compliant. The most he would be willing to do, and even that is recent, is generate an RSS or two from his home page. Thus, we advocated, semantic web followers should work on generating the incentive, and the rest will follow. Dapper’s success is attributed, to a large extent, to the fact we’re addressing the end-users, who have the incentive to go and make the effort, because they want to build a new RSS/Widget/Mashup etc.

And of course, also attributed to our coding ninjas 🙂

Last Thursday (March 13th, 2008), Yahoo’s search team, led by Amit Kumar, presented a strong and clear incentive for web publishers everywhere to jump on the semantic web bandwagon. By announcing that Slurp (Yahoo’s web crawler) will soon start indexing semantic web information, Yahoo effectively transformed the act of making a site “semantic web compliant” into an SEO strategy, taken into account in their crawling, indexing, scoring and presentation of search results.

Now for most publishers and media companies out there, the budget for “pleasing the geeks” is quite small. However, their SEO budget? Well, that’s a totally different story. As Amit rightfully states: “Without a killer semantic web app for consumers, site owners have been reluctant to support standards like RDF, or even microformats. We believe that app can be web search.” Indeed.

To help site owners make their site semantic web compliant, we’re announcing several tools today. First, we’re announcing the Dapper “Semantify” service – a service that lets you seamlessly create an RDFa version of every page on your site, with virtually zero hassle. When Yahoo’s search engine crawler (or other semantic aware machines) requests a page on a Semantify enabled site, it gets the page augmented inline with the right semantically tagged meta-data. When an end-user requests that page, it gets your usual page. Using the Semantify service, you’ll be able to add meaningful semantics to your site, which in turn will allow Yahoo to better incorporate your content in their search results.

We believe that by removing the technological barrier of re-engineering sites to incorporate semantic information, we will enable a much larger group of publishers to semantify their sites, pushing us further into a world where the semantic web is mainstream.Soon we will also release an RDF transformer that lets you generate an RDF compliant XML as an output of a Dapp. One way in which you can make use of this transformer is by incorporating it as a <link> tag in your pages’ header.

While the road forward is very long, at Dapper we believe that 2008 will be the year where the semantic web will finally have a fighting chance. It is up to us all to make it happen. We hope you will find these new services useful, and we welcome feedback to help us shape their future.

Update: Marshall has written a great blog post about Semantify over at Read/WriteWeb.

Reports on Service Status Move to a New Home

March 19, 2008


Dapper’s got a new blog:

The new blog is used to update the community on new technical issues, when they arise, and on Dapper’s service status – and that means that the service status reports will no longer be found here.

If these matters are of interest to you, we’d recommend not to read as a regular blog (it’s not exactly John Grisham), but rather to subscribe to the Service Status, and to read about new issues when you encounter a problem.

Subscribe to the Service Status feed
View current (unresolved) issues
Check if a certain issue you encountered a while back is resolved

Enjoy Dapping,