Simon Willison’s Weblog


9 items tagged “xfml”


XFML (via) Throwing the new home for the XFML specification some Google juice; the domain name got nabbed by a squatter. # 30th August 2007, 10:27 pm


Mark goes XFML

Mark Pilgrim has discovered XFML. He provides an excellent description of the standard, but fails to mention XFML’s most powerful ability; sharing metadata. Here’s how it works:

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XFML for Radio

Spotted on Guide to ease: Bill Kearney has written an XFML tool for Radio Userland. This sounds great—I’d love to see an example of a Radio blog that is using this.

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XFMLManager, Peter Van Dijck’s XFML construction and navigation tool to which I have contributed various chunks of XML related code, has been renamed Taxomita and given a brand new site. Peter hopes to have a public beta out within the next few weeks. It also has a mailing list. Meanwhile, XFML has been cropping up all over the place even despite the current lack of software, with the most recent sighting occurring over at Bill Kearney’s Syndication News.

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XFML 1.0 soon

Peter Van Dijck: Future XFML news will be posted on the site. XFML 1.0 will be with us soon.

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RDF is dead

Peter provides an interesting perspective:

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Yet another interesting take on XML metadata representations: FacetMaps. A facet map (as I understand it) is a way of combining facets with hierarchies, best explained by the excellent interactive three minute concept intro on the site. One of the main contrasts to XFML is that in a Facet Map Facets, rather than Topics, are the principle categorisation element. A resource in a Facet Map is linked directly to one or more facets, rather than going through a topic. The XML format is pretty simple (a lot simpler than XTM and XFML) so I might have a go at a PHP implementation at some point.

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Facets understood

And suddenly I understand faceted metadata. Sometimes all you need for that final moment of insight is a good example, and Peter Van Djick’s Columbia Guide Site Map is just what I needed. A facet is simply a “flat”, mutually exclusive (at least as far as the XFML specification is concerned) way of categorising a topic—it can be described as a bottom-up method of categorisation rather than the more common hierarchical top-down approach (as seen on the ODP) which seeks to assign all topics as sub-topics of something else. Peter writes in XFML Background and Concepts that Faceted taxonomies are generally more powerful for websites than classic hierarchical taxonomies—this seems to make a great deal of sense, and it will be interesting to see this demonstrated by XFML in the near future.

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XFML—eXchangable Faceted Metadata Language (via Guide to ease). Now this is interesting. It’s an open XML format designed to facilitiate the publication and distribution of metadata—it uses a load of terms that are currently way over my head (hierarchical and faceted taxonomiest, topicmaps?) but the general principle looks fantastic. I wrote a metadata system last year that used a relational database and it was something of a nightmare—XFML looks like it solves some of the problems I faced, although my biggest challenge was how to grab and present usable information from the huge amounts of metadata collected which is a problem that falls outside the scope of XFML. XFML is best summarised by the following quote:

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