Future of Web Apps Day 2 Afternoon Session 1

Posted on October 4, 2007


Next is John Aizen and Eran Shir from Dapper to talk about transforming the existing web into the semantic web.

Generally most have come to agree that the semantic web vision has failed. Why? Because there is a considerable effort required to ‘semantify’ the web and almost noone has spent the money.

RSS and API’s are starting to follow this vision. Mashmaker, BlueVision and Facebook are all doing SemWebby stuff.

What has really been happening to support SW?

First off, the concept of feeds. Second the concept that less is more. REST wins over SOAP, microformats win over RDF/OWL.

Dapper aims to create a semantically meaningful layer over the top of the web. It lets users choose pages on the web and then separate form from content by assigning content to semantically named fields which are then published as xml or other formats.

Semantically based advertising is one interesting area of development. Search is also a bit of a holy grail.

The Dapper guys are now doing a demo of a search engine based on dapper data. It’s pretty impressive, allowing users to query data semantically, for example to look for recipes where ingredient=chocolate or venue=London.


Someone pointed out that this is based on screen scraping, and asked about the fragility of this. Dapper apparently has the means to take this on board, looking for inaccuracies in data and responding accordingly.

It has always struck me that the biggest challenge for Dapper (or in fact anything SWebby) is explaining what is essentially a very complex topic. There is no 2 minute elevator pitch for Semantic Web.

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