At some point, on the FOAFnet mailing list, David Sifry asked, ” What is DOAP? What is GRDDL? What’s the use case?” in response to Danny Ayers’ post on the mailing list.
My reply was pretty simple and succinct in my opinion, but I never put it anywhere public to read. I think it’s a relatively succinct explanation of why GRDDL can be useful for moving between the microformats, with tiny datasets, and RDF, with the large dataset behind it.
What is DOAP? What is GRDDL? What’s the use case?
DOAP - Description of a Project. DOAP is to Open Source software what FOAF is to people. http://usefulinc.com/doap
GRDDL - Gleaming Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Language. This is a way of performing transormations from (x)HTML documents to an RDF document. This transformation takes place via an XSLT transformation, specified either implicitly through the “profile” link in the <head> of the HTML document, or via a meta rel=”transformation”, which parses can then apply to the document to get something with real meaning out of.
“Microformats” and storing data in HTML may be good for people who are writing specialized tools for each format they want to deal with, but GRDDL allows for people who want to support all these to simply write one translation, using XSLT, and take advantage of the underlying data model of RDF. This allows you to merge existing data sources with the newly emergent small-s semantic technologies, and to use existing tools for combining these sets of data and discovering correlations between them, using the already existing RDF data access framework.
If I have a datastore of RDF data (which I do), and someone wants to find if the maintainer of a certain project has contact information in that database, using hBlah pages, I can’t really do that. However, if I merge the datasets with the already existing FOAF data out there, I can find out that a person named Christopher Schmidt, who is a maintainer of “julie, aka redlandbot”, also has an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s a pretty simplified use case, but the general idea is simply to take the tiny sources of data that the h* formats provide, and integrate them with the millions of pieces of data out there already in FOAF, RSS, and everything else Semantic.