FOAF-a-Matic in the Guardian

I was quite chuffed to see the FOAF-a-Matic mentioned in this Guardian Online article by Ben Hammersley today, although it was slightly alarming to see him mention Mark 2 which is still in very early beta.
I’ll probably spend this evening hacking on it some more.

This is one of the few pieces of code that I’ve released into the wild so its nice to see it getting widely used. I’d intended it as a tool to introduce people to FOAF, so its good to see it fulfilling its purpose.
Out of interest I’ve dug out the number of hits to the FOAF-a-Matic page over the last few months

  • December: 1317
  • November: 768
  • October: 1192
  • September: 1834
  • August: 461
  • July: 904

Of course after playing with the tool for a short while its pretty obvious how easy it is to hand-author FOAF files, except when you want to add in some of the more weird and wonderful things like geographic locations, assurance, etc. Then you need a better understanding of RDF (or copy-and-paste anyway!). The aim of FOAF-a-Matic Mark 2 is to provide a prettier interface, but also track new additions to FOAF as they come about.
I’ve also added a mini-HTTP server (only responds to HTTP GET from local machine) to the development version of FOAF-a-Matic Mark 2 so that I can respond to requests from bookmarklets. This will allow me to do auto-discovery of FOAF data from a page, RSS files, find friends in common with a person whose weblog you’re reading, etc, etc.
At some point I should probably de-couple this from the user interface so that you can run this in the background without having an extra window cluttering the place up.
Switching to using Jena to hold the internal data model and deal with loading and saving of data was a sound move, and I’m kicking myself I didn’t just do this from the start. The tutorial is very good if, like me, you need a leg-up to begin with.