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Data Context Strategy and Initiative

Posted by david on 09 May 2012 at 4:18 am

I've been putting together some initial proposals for an initiative I plan to share with several projects around the Open Source community. The overall idea stems from my ambition over ten years ago to build a social web hosting service. I worked on it heavily for a few years and ended up stopping direct development and began developing the Clay Framework (in hope of building the service on the lighter-weight framework). My new ambition is quite different, but in a lot of ways an evolved version of my original goal.

I haven't found a good name for it yet. I am hoping the name can be a collaborative effort, but so far I've pinned some good keywords down. Data and Context, those two words are what it is all about. There are many different open source projects that build content management systems and ways to deploy web sites. They all use their own methods and have their own systems in place. All of them compete directly or indirectly with eachother, sometimes while maintaining working relationships with eachother. As far as I know, few of them interact with eachother on a data transport level.

Meanwhile, large social networks are flourishing, providing services that heavily benefit themselves overall. My strategy is to create an open standard that allows any web site to become part of a vast social network. I'm not going into details, just yet, but imagine that you have a blog that supports this open data context standard. Any web site or user across the web that also uses this context standard can be networked with you and your web site. All you have to do is interact with that person or site in some way, whether it is subscribing to their public activities, commenting on something they created or even replying to their comment. This strategy takes the overall concept of a social network and applies it across any web site that supports it. Of course the hard part is creating a standard context for data to move from web site to web site, while also allowing the users and web sites to filter and share data as desired. I do have some ideas to provide barriers for misuse and to differentiate which kinds of data are shared or even accepted. 

I'm hoping to get many other Open Source projects involved and to create a standard that will allow us to create a vast social network. It's entirely possible, we just have to do it.

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