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[ontolog-forum] AJAX vs. the Giant Global Graph

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 10:01:59 -0500
Message-id: <4BB21267.2070603@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Tim-Berners Lee views the Semantic Web as a Giant Global Graph.
Since I've been working on graph logic for years, I like that
metaphor very much.  But I also realize that many different tools
have been developed to process various kinds of data formats:
tables, networks, ordinary language, etc.    (01)

In a printed book, the data as stored and the data as viewed are
identical.  But with computers, there is an open ended number of
ways of dynamically deriving totally different views for different
people or for the same person for different reasons.    (02)

Think of Google Maps:  you see the roads, the satellite view,
the view from the street, the name tags on various sites, and
the option of zooming in or out at any distance.  All those
views are composites created from data stored in many different
formats from many different sources.  The way the data happens
to be stored has no direct relationship to the way it's combined
with other data or presented to the viewer.    (03)

The term AJAX is used for the method used by Google:  Asynchronous
JavaScript And XML.  That method of processing became possible in
the 1990s, but it was only used in a limited number of applications.
Google brought it into the mainstream in 2004 with Gmail and 2005
with Google Maps.  Since then, AJAX was very rapidly assimilated
into the mainstream of major new innovations.    (04)

Tim B-L's metaphor is good, but the problem with the Semantic Web
is that the W3C took that metaphor literally.  They tried to force
all information into a uniform notation.  That is the opposite of
AJAX, which creates an open-ended number of views dynamically from
an open-ended number of resources stored in any imaginable format.
As the comparative growth rates of AJAX and the SemWeb show, many
more innovative uses are based on the AJAX paradigm.    (05)

In the subject line, I put "vs." between AJAX and the GGG, but
they should be considered complementary methods whose greatest
strength comes from a dynamic combination.  What we really need
is *not* a webified view of all data, but an AJAX-ified way of
reorganizing the Semantic Web and combining it with other kinds
of information.    (06)

Many people have noted that there is vastly more data in the
world than anything represented on web pages.  Much of that
data is stored in files and databases that are used by AJAX
methods for generating web pages dynamically.  But they are
not represented as web pages until they are explicitly created
in response to somebody's request.    (07)

The terms 'Invisible Web', 'Hidden Web', and 'Deep Web' are
often used for that data.  It is much more voluminous than
the visible web, and for various reasons, it will never be
part of the visible web.  Some kinds of data are unintelligible
without further processing -- for example, the huge volumes of
data about the universe gathered by NASA.  Other data must be
kept out of the WWW for reasons of privacy and security.    (08)

In general, there is no single format that is ideal for all
possible uses.  Instead of designing an ideal format for
everything, we must develop frameworks for relating anything
in any format and reorganizing it as needed for any possible
purpose.    (09)

AJAX and the Giant Global Graph are complementary pieces of
an even more gigantic puzzle, and nobody knows how many more
pieces may be discovered or invented in the future.  We must
develop tools and methodologies that can accommodate and
integrate anything that might arise.    (010)

John Sowa    (011)

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