Simple things generating complex behavior
JohnArwe 120000CAW7 Visits (2524)
Apparently I have eclectic interests - at least people who know me seem to think so. Arnaud LeHors from our Standards organization just published a blog entry on recent Linked Data Platform progress that brought me back to some concepts from chaos theory and power laws I was reading about recently.
A short digression into chaos theory - optional
There were slightly simpler forms in the book, but that's at home and I'm not. The image above is from the Attr
Simple Concepts, Many Uses
What makes it "hard" (read: complex) to describe those things is that real life does not operate literally at that level -- and machines are nothing if not literal. The simple understandable form is an abstraction; it's useful for some things, insufficient for others. Just like a compact car; great for gas mileage, not so great for moving your bed.
You will see those simple notions above all the time in IBM's linked data and OSLC interfaces. They're in OSLC Core, so they're "inherited" by every OSLC domain specification. Even where in products like Omnibus that expose Linked Data APIs (e.g. for an event collection), you see this pattern. By the way, when I say Linked Data API I'm basically saying "looks like an OSLC spec, quacks like an OSLC spec, but there is no actual OSLC spec for that domain". Jazz for Service Management uses them in its registries in the same way.
You might notice that the first 3 sound a lot like "REST" - not an accident. The final one is more of a Linked Data thought. AtomPub became a rallying point for exposing those concepts over HTTP for XML data.
So What's in It for Me?
Simple - re-use.
And this has What to do with this "Linked Data Platform" you started off with?
The Linked Data Platform is a World Wide Web consortium (W3C) standardization of these Very Simple Concepts that satisfy a surprisingly large set of scenarios ("ah
Because we're trying to address that fourth concept (machines need unambiguous content), and we want to do that while still allowing (even preferring) loosely coupled implementations, LDP is based on something called RDF, that underlies the Semantic Web. This has the happy consequence of bringing an AtomPub-like level of interaction consistency for CRUD operations to machine-driven (automated) interactions that is fully consistent with the Semantic Web and simultaneously throwing off AtomPub's hard tie to XML ... RDF has multiple serializations, including but not limited to XML.
There's no LDP Primer yet, but the working group has documents of that sort (that title is mine, might well change) on its radar. My best guess is they'll start showing up by this fall, but some are agitating for much sooner (June has been kicked around) so stay tuned.