Serialization formats don’t matter

I mean, if working with RDF has taught me one thing, it’s that converting between two different forms of serialization is trivial—it’s the underlying model that matters.

Exactly! And still, many who are in the integration business think that XML schemas is the only product required to exchange data between multiple parties. The serialization format(s) should be based on the use cases of the information. And even in a small organization use cases tend to pop up all the time demanding new formats. Most SOA-people see a problem with multiple serialization formats but I am thinking that it is almost insignificant these days if you have a well defined model.

Hello OpenGL World in Ocaml

I swear, if I read one more programming tutorial that starts with a recursive factorial function instead of a simple “Hello world” I’ll pray for perpetual nigerian spam on their inboxes. So, I was delighted to try out some Ocaml stuff today that didn’t involve factorials. Continue reading

The broken state of EU legal information on the web

In my pet project eurlex.nu I find a lot of weird stuff when scraping documents from the official website eur-lex.europa.eu. The most recent specimen – Final adoption of amending budget No 4 of the European Union for the financial year 2008 – has the publish date 80/80/2200. That’s almost two hundred years into the future with an invalid day/month combo on top. This leads me to believe that the system is in such a broken state that even simple date validation isn’t implemented.

Someone delivered a really poor software project for our tax money. I would love to redo the european legal information website with proper standards (e.g. validating HTML, RDF and proper semantics).

Oh well…

Feature requests for a vocabulary editor

I have been searching for quite a while now and apparently there is a missing piece of software waiting to be made. If you are working with RDF data in any way you have probably created a vocabulary using OWL and/or RDF schema sometime. This works well for all technologists out there but in my world vocabularies should be created by domain experts rather than developers. Domain experts do not know OWL or RDF schema. Continue reading

Standards require reference implementations!

First, some people bash Microsoft for not implementing DIS 29500 (OOXML) in Office 2007. Then, someone discovers that OpenOffice 2.4 does not create proper ODF. (Update: The test procedure was wrong). And then, Microsoft announce that a coming Office service pack will add native ODF support to Microsoft Office ahead of OOXML support. And, South Africa appelas OOXML adoption. Will Microsoft Office 2007 become the first Office suite to support ODF?

At the heart of the issue is the lack of reference implementations. ISO is way behind W3C in this area. Could someone please tell ISO that open source reference implementations are an absolute necessity when working with standards for information exchange?

From the W3C technical report development process section 7.4.4:

Preferably, the Working Group should be able to demonstrate two interoperable implementations of each feature.

It is simple really. The benefit of a standard is created when it is used. Open source reference implementations shortens the time to market for everyone implementing the standard in their products and also disambiguate interpretation of the standard specification.

Tim, please tell me you know someone at ISO that can fix the process.