nicolas leroy

AdaptiveBlue launches new format for the semantic web

May 03, 2008

AdaptiveBlue is a company focused on tools that leverage the benefits of the semantic web. I clearly believe the semantic web is the future of the web, even if the adoption rate is still low. I think microformats helped a lot people understands the benefits of the semantic web lately; but I regret the standardization of microformats is so slow (i.e: hListing is still in draft mode for years now). But don’t get me wrong: I understand the need for the microformat community to come with robust specifications, and microformats are there today thanks to the willingness of this community.

AdaptiveBlue has recently announced AB Meta, “a simple and open format for annotating pages that are about things“. When microformats rely on the HTML markup to add semantic into a page, AB Meta formats use meta data stored in the header of the page, to explain if the page is related to a book, a wine, a movie…

The proposition of AdaptiveBlue is to come with a very simple format that many can use:

AB Meta is part of the so-called bottom-up approach, which is generally considered difficult because it requires the content owners to annotate pages. However, because AB Meta is really simple and easy to implement, many content owners will be able to support it.

Sure AB Meta is not as “sexy” as microformats can be:

Still, it can be relevant if it is widely implemented and if it is extended wisely (extensions behind tracked and integrated into the “official” specification from AdaptiveBlue).

Thinking about pragmatic usage for the CSE world, annotations of product pages on retailers’ websites could ease the process of crawling the web and extract structured data for shopping.