I ought to say some things about json-ld, because I think a lot of people aren't familiar with the details of it.
- You can play with json-ld live here: https://json-ld.org/playground/
- JSON-LD lets you have extensions but map them to local "compacted" shorthands, while still allowing to expand out into unambiguous form.
- JSON-LD does allow converting to a RDF graph, but it's not required. (It is interesting, though.)
- Unlike most specs, JSON-LD has a complete implementation guide https://www.w3.org/TR/json-ld-api/ Some people have been complaining on here that it's non-normative, but of course it's not normative. For example, the algorithms here are imperative, and it's legal to rewrite to a functional style without breaking the spec.
- The JSON-LD test suite is *fantastic* and if you do an implementation, will really catch a lot of things
- One of the suggestions in the "litepub" subset of activitypub being proposed (I think it's fine to explore a subset) is that core AS2 terms can be compacted while extensions should be their full URI. That's fine, and is compatible, but
- If you have a json-ld library handy, one thing you can do is just compact incoming data to the context *you* use. It'll do exactly the same thing with terms you don't know but will let you use shorthands for those you do.
- One complaint about json-ld is that it doesn't work nicely with statically compiled languages or ones with fixed records. That's because it's an open world system. But here's news: *any system* that has extensions (including litepub's proposed solution) will have this problem. Litepub won't get rid of this challenge (because records will still be fixed and won't know how to handle extensions). It would mean you wouldn't have to use a json-ld library, but those are two different things
- JSON-LD didn't come from the semantic web world, it even started as a reaction against it in some ways. Here's history from one of the JSON-LD founders, Manu Sporny: "JSON-LD and Why I Hate the Semantic Web" http://manu.sporny.org/2014/json-ld-origins-2/
- JSON-LD's inclusion in ActivityPub had nothing to do with pressure from W3C staff. Most W3C staff barely paid attention to ActivityPub or the SocialWG compared to most other working groups before it took off thanks to Mastodon's adoption
- The W3C has structural problems, and it's membership structure *does* lead to corruption. I've criticized this myself. However the SocialWG which standardized ActivityPub was an outlier: most participants were not corporate members but were "invited experts" from the community. This was rare in the W3C.
- JSON-LD is actually quite easy to use if you have a library that implements it. Most of the time, all you need to do is compact incoming data to the local context you know. *That's it*! It's fast too.
- If you don't have a library, the API doc walks you through it. It's not hard (I've implemented a full json-ld stack myself), just time consuming. Again, the tests are very good though.
There, I just wanted to clear up some things. Happy to answer questions.
Oh one more thing... one thing that was very exhausting about this week was seeing a ton of posts dogpile on like "Whaaaat? The json-ld devs / activitypub devs didn't realize X???? What morons" where X is addressed in a bunch of the things above.
In fact we had talked about basically all of these. Criticism is fine, and we might miss things, but don't assume that we're completely incompetent without even trying to engage in a civil way and *find out*. There may be history you don't know.
Oh yeah after all this, I forgot to mention: there's a really cute video which gives an intro to json-ld: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vioCbTo3C-4
Some more cute videos on these subjects:
- JSON-LD Core Markup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmvWk_TQ30A
- JSON-LD Expansion and Compaction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm3fD89dqRE
- Linked Data Signatures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdUZaYeQblY
(I'll note that Linked Data Signatures is the most work in progress of all of these... usable, and used by Mastodon, but still in progress in some ways!)
All very accessible and fun to watch!
@cwebber basically, there's a Polish meme that I attach, reading, "now from astrophysics: scientists have miscalculated the age of the universe by several billion years" and the guy responding to that saying "morons"
It kinda reminds me of what you just said.
@cwebber thanks for all your work and i know i appreciate it :) i'm sorry this week has been so rough 😩
@bhaugen I didn't link it on the Pleroma thread. Maybe that's lame of me, but I just didn't have the energy to deal with a kick-back and I figured I might get one if I posted it over there since there seemed to be a lot of indignation there
I understand. I take the same approach, I don't argue much with people, just move with the people who want to move together. Move faster and usually better that way.
Unless we are all deluded...
@cwebber I'm sorry to hear about their lack of interest. I think ActivityPub is where all the value being worked on was.
They keep trying to make the clientside more "capable", whilst neglecting making the serverside more interoperable. But then that's where the industry is at, and maybe you liked the lack of attention.
@alcinnz The lack of management and corporate interest in AP while it was being standardized was a blessing and a curse. Early on Tim Berners-Lee was interested, but lost interest when we weren't quite as devoted to RDF as he'd like in some ways (or maybe he was just busy). But we never got corporate interest, which actually threatened our ability to get specs to Recommendation status.
OTOH it also stopped Google & Facebook for stepping in and bulldozing it as "their standard" and ignoring the community, or alternately perceiving us as serious enough of a threat to try to shut us down. My experience in standards says that sadly that happens *a lot* in the W3C and even most standards groups, sadly. So maybe in that sense it's a good thing that the big players barely paid us any mind.
@cwebber I really appreciated Manu Sporny's work and his approach to it (I remember well "Decision 3: Kick RDF in the Nuts" from the post you linked to!), as I had just been getting up to speed on linked data around the same time.
@cwebber Wow, full URIs sounds a bit hypocritical, considering they want plain JSON.
I feel like the JSON-LD disconnect is specific to the distributed nature of AP.
In the JSON-LD world, producers simply tack context onto their existing data. Old-school consumers can rely on the same old JSON struct. And yet, data is now linked.
But in AP, we're all peers, and consuming data from producers we don't know. So JSON-LD processing is a hard requirement, and the "It's just JSON" no longer holds.
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