SemanticJournal blog engine
Sorry if I’ve introduced lots of unread articles into your feed reader… I moved this blog over to a new blog engine yesterday.
Previously, it was running on Typo, an open source Rails-based blogging app, which has served me well for a few years, but at times I found it a little frustrating and inflexible to work with. It’s now running on my own blogging platform codenamed SemanticJournal – still based on Rails, but using CouchDB for storage rather than MySql.
SemanticJournal was written partly as an exercise in using CouchDB, and partly to serve as a testing ground and vehicle for some new technology that we’re working on at Swirrl. As the name suggests, SemanticJournal combines some Semantic Web features with a blogging platform.
RDFa is just a way of enhancing web pages with additional metadata by combining html with RDF-triples. (i.e. machine-readable statements about resources consisting of subject, predicate and object). For example, one such statement embedded in this page describes when the article was published.
What’s the point of adding RDFa to a web page? Using RDFa helps other computers understand its content more easily, as it gives the marked-up text a context. Terms mentioned in the page can be made less ambiguous (e.g. If I mention “Paris Hilton”, am I talking about the celebrity or the hotel?). By providing some of the content as RDF it becomes more easily accessible by other services on the web, making it more “mashup-able” and providing potential SEO benefits.
At the moment, SemanticJournal only adds RDFa to the basic blog article metadata, such as the title, author and date, but at Swirrl, we’re working on providing ways to make it easier to publish machine readable content on the Web.
Once I’ve had a chance to tidy up the code a bit (and make it a bit more generically useful) I plan on making the code for SemanticJournal openly available. Watch this space – I’ll announce it on this blog when we do.