While I’m on the subject of data portability, I thought I’d talk about DataPortability.
A loose analogy: Consider the definition of the Semantic Web – a conceptual framework combining standardised semantic applications on the web. Similarly, the DataPortability project aims to define and implement a set of recommendations of open standards to enable (entire and complete) end-to-end portability of data.
Both ‘capitalised’ terms denote distinct, considered models – composed of specific selections of the technologies that together embody their respective namesakes.
Not that DataPortability really has anything to do with the Semantic Web other than the shared idyllic standardisation and ‘boundless’ interoperation of data and services online..
In essence the project a volunteer-based workgroup, as transparent and ‘frictionless’ a movement as the borderless experience they promote. Their vision describes the web as place where people can move easily between network services, reusing data they provide, controlling their own privacy and respecting the privacy of others (read in full here).
They wish to see end to every problem I described in my last post – the social network fatigue, the fragmentation and walled-garden silo landscape of current web platforms – and too, promote the combination of a open source technologies and protocols (including OpenID and OAuth) for web-wide benefit, not only with regards to social networking.
The following video, quite simply but accurately, describes the already too familiar picture:
So what technologies are we talking about?
Although our Semantic friends RDF, SIOC and FOAF are present, it’s much more familiar territory for the rest. The line up includes RSS, OPML, again OAuth, OpenID and Microformats. These are existing open standards though, not technologies still in development awaiting a W3C recommendation like some of the Semantic Web projections.
There’s some other very cool stuff I’d like to go into more detail with later. Definitely APML, for example – Attention Profiling Markup Language – an XML-based format that encapsulates a summary of your interests, your informed ‘attention data’.
As well as identifying the components that make up their blueprint (the recognition of how their goals can be achieved – which, and I know I keep coming back to this, is one of the largest cause for doubters of the Semantic Web – that the speculative combination of some of the technologies is almost unimaginable) – the DataPortability project also documents best practices for why you should to participate in the initiative – specifically tailored as to how they can come together for you, as developers, or consumers, or service providers etc.
DataPortability is about empowering users, aiming to grant a ‘free-flowing web’ within your control.
How are they doing this? Are they likely to succeed? They’ve already got some huge names on board – Google, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Digg, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Netvibes – the list goes on. This is really happening.
Find out more at dataportability.org.