poshZones: A bazaar approach to the semantic web

note to TWers: This is the other Sriram

A semantic web should let one website have semantic interactions with another. The browser acts as an information broker in these interactions. Here are some examples of semantic interactions.
  1. Say you have an on-line stock trading account with an online brokerage like ICICIDirect or just a portfolio account with a site like stockhive. One feature of this account is that it lets you maintain a watch list of companies. Now imagine you are reading an on-line newspaper article about some company. You should be able do the equivalent of right clicking somewhere on the article and add the company to your watch list on your stock trading account with correct authentication and the works.
  2. Say you have an account on a movie rental website like seventymm. Typically this account has a rental queue of movies or documentaries that you would like to watch. Now imagine you are reading a movie review or a blog post about a documentary or just browsing through IMDB. You should be able to do the equivalent of right clicking somewhere on the page and add the movie to your queue on your rental account. Same applies to adding books to your wish list on your bookstore while browsing through a Slashdot book review or blog.
  3. Say you have an account on a job portal like naukri and you happen to be reading about a company mentioned in some blog/article. You should be able to do the equivalent of right clicking on that page and initiate a look up for job openings posted on naukri for that company.
  4. Add your own scenario here.
poshZone is a attempt to enable the above. POSH stands for plain old semantic HTML. A web page that contains a few zones of semantic HTML can be excellent fodder for operator. Try this demo. It is a proof of concept for example 2 above. Thanks to Mike for tweaking operator to let poshZones work as a pluggable format (though it isn't a formal microformat). I had initially called it a flexiFormat but then poshZone better conveys that it basically works off plain old semantic HTML.


The markup bazaar is an open wiki that lets you define new poshZones and publish user scripts that do interesting things with marked up zones.

An aside on how RESTful APIs help user scripts. It doesn't help much if a service provider has a RESTful API interface for the programmable web but a lame set of URLs for the human website. User scripts like the above are much easier to write if it is possible to GET all sorts of look ups on the human website.

p.s. wikidot is quite a cool wiki hosting service. Thanks wikidot.

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