Alex Barnett has just made a couple of interesting posts : Dr. Peter Chen - the ER Model and ADO.NET Entity Framework - Podcast and (Hints of) The Future of Windows Live as a platform (no disrespect to Chris Pirillo who's featured in the intervening post doing tech support over YouTube, but that's another rather-you-than-me thing).
is the fellow who came up with the entity-relationship model. He
was also a signatory of the
CommuniquÃ©. His introductory background is great,
this part of the recording is a must-listen for any datahead
human-linguaphile (or must-read if you go to the "heritage" part of
Modeling: Historical Events, Future Trends, and Lessons
The " 'S' word" crops up around half-way through the recording, and there's a bit of (general positive) discussion of the ideas of Semantic Web technologies. Hardly surprising, since if you take the entity-relationship model, do some minor tweaks and identify the entities and relationships with URIs you have RDF. But I did get the feeling that while looking at the semantic side they were overlooking the web somewhat, and it didn't sound like they were aware of recent developments, the progress in practice. Interestingly the integration/querying of personal calendars was given as an example. Coincindentally one the sweetest semweb demos is the SPARQL Calendar Demo, covering that very case.
I hope somebody makes a transcript, there's some stuff about making views of data that I didn't really absorb, but sounded like it would fit with RDF approaches.
Most of the talk was fairly general, although clearly prompted by Microsoft's new Entity Framework. It sounds like it brings with it a stack of tools useful in creating and maintaining maps between different levels of abstraction. One aspect I didn't expect to hear about was the opportunity to support continuous integration, more agile development styles.What was fairly predictable was some talk of the potential for data reuse - generating reports and suchlike.
Right at the end there was a nice line about an advantage of using an entity-relationship model - not having to write so much code.
There's a bit of a teaser here, in that MS have got some new stuff due to release around Windows Live, their web side of things. If there's a connection between that and the Entity Framework it could be mighty interesting. It could potentially be really bizarre in fact, if the planets happened to line up in the right bit of sky it could mean that after years of lagging behind the likes of HP, IBM and Oracle with Semantic Web technologies, they leapfrog the lot with a whole platform stack.
Ok...it seems very unlikely that they've targetted RDF specifically (there would probably have been more mention in that podcast), and they have invested a lot in the WS-* style of not-quite-web services. Whatever, it's enough to rouse the curiosity of this open source & RESTfully-inclined semwebber. So my one big question across the Entity Framework, Windows Live and whatever else MS have got lined up is a simple one:
Where are the URIs?Â