This is turning into a habit 🙂 My colleague, Keith Alexander, is in town this week and staying at a fancy hotel in the city centre. He’s not familiar with brum so I agreed to show him around a little and grab a bite to eat. After the briefest tour of Birmingham city centre in history we decided to find somewhere to eat and ended up at Festival Balti in the Arcadian Centre.
We spent ages talking about various semantic web related issues most of which revolved around the sorts of the things we’d like to use the Talis Platform for as well as talking about the sort of features we’d like to see in the platform, the current limitations in our api’s but the upcoming features that will address these limitations. We talked about the applications we are building and how they are converging onto similar technology stacks, opening up the prospect of more discrete component reuse.
Our discussion also ranged from comparisons between Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous and Morville’s Ambient Findability, to the very nature or vision Semantic Search. We talked about how useful Microformat’s could be and the benefits as well as the problems with current initiatives being undertaken within the FireFox community to build Microformat detection directly into FireFox 3.
With reference to search I think we both agreed that the future of search lay in addressing the current problem with Google Search, the fact that the search does not take the user’s context into account. We came up with some ideas about how we might be able to capture this information. We talked about how RDF lends itself to being able to merge together data from heterogeneous domains and why this might be the most appropriate medium through which to achieve this.
I’ve only touched on the diverse subjects we talked about but one thing did stand out – how much Keith knows about the semantic web! It’s a passion of his and it’s something he’s been blogging about over at http://semwebdev.keithalexander.co.uk/blog/.
I can’t help but reflect on the fact that our development group at Talis comprises of a group of individuals who are extremely passionate about this particular topic or problem space, whether or not they have been drawn together by design or pure chance (our HR team may take exception to that :p), the fact remains that we have brought together and incredibly talented group of people that really want to solve these problems and develop something that is… well for want of a better word … incredible.
It all reminds me of something G.W.F Hegel once wrote:
“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion”