Re: A bit of bomb throwing....

From: Zack Rosen <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 20:26:05 -0800

I think the sweet spot for real-world RDF store applications at the
moment are small to mid sized business like yours who have the
resources and wherewith-all to do the deep dive required to implement
the new technology. Companies such as yours who very much in control
your technology destiny are in a good position to experiment as long
as the developers who work for you are comfortable with your
platform. The problem is this work will not translate well to
'enterprise' providers or widely adopted open-source projects. Large
companies are going to stick with proven technologies and open-source
projects (successful ones anyways) are going to stick with simpler
implementations. Upstart open-source projects will inevitably come
about to challenge the currently successful CMS's but they will be
fighting an uphill battle.

I think the scalability issues are not the biggest obstacle to RDF-
Store adoption although they are going to be a serious pain in the
ass to work through. The problem is your going to have a heck of a
time convincing open-source developers to ditch their simple,
proven, and well understood methods of data retrieval and internal
representation such as straight SQL, stored procs, etc. RDF stores
are a new paradigm. For open source developers the question of
adoption will hinge on a cost-benefit analysis of: "How much will RDF
stores cost me to 1) understand community wide 2) implement 3)
support long term VS how much new functionality can I leverage with
RDF object stores?". The history of open-source web application
projects is littered with the carcasses of "very powerful" but overly
complex application environments. Just as Plone is being over-taken
the lighter-meaner Drupal ( Django and ROR
are starting to rip through the overly dense and verbose world of JSP
web-apps. Open-Source web app project leads are taking note and the
conclusions are going to make SW technology an even harder sell


On Jan 17, 2006, at 11:42 AM, Rickard Öberg wrote:

> Zack Rosen wrote:
>> That said, from personal experience, I don't see a way RDF object
>> stores will be pervasively implemented in web-technology such as
>> content management systems any time soon.
> Perhaps I should mention that the product I work on (and am, in
> fact, chief architect of) is a CMS/portal. And that we're the
> second largest vendor in Sweden of said types of products.
>> If you were to propose this to the Drupal community you would
>> probably get laughed off the mailinglist. The problem is the
>> burden of proof as to the benefits of adopting these technologies
>> and concepts still remain upon the research community and RDF
>> object stores remain relatively unproven. In the communities I
>> work with this is exacerbated by the fact that experiments with
>> RDF object stores have been nothing short of disastrous. One
>> multi-$100K project I know of employed an RDF store in their CMS/
>> Communtiy application only to see it choke under light web
>> traffic loads. The website never launched and the project was
>> scrapped.
> As already mentioned I did a spike test of using Sesame as our
> backend store today, and as already mentioned performance is one of
> the key factors for me, and as already mentioned I did not see a
> significant difference between Sesame and our current persistence
> store.
> What I haven't already mentioned is that in my experience the
> backend store has a very small effect on overall performance of a
> CMS. A strong architecture and LOTS AND LOTS of caching, now that's
> where you get serious performance. As a funny note we just broke
> the performance record of one Major Government branch when they
> redid their website using our stuff. The funny part is that our CMS
> is entirely based on dynamic generation of pages and the old one
> used Apache and static content. So again, performance in a CMS
> basically comes down to: "how little can you touch the disk?".
> As far as I can tell, the RDF store will be great for *finding*
> content, but once I have located the id I will use more standard
> techniques to actually access and use it, and for the most part I
> hope to have it in my caches already anyway. That approach has
> worked very well so far anyway.
>> My point is not to spread doom and gloom though. I just think we
>> need to objectively think about what it will take to get these
>> tools widely adopted.
> I agree, objectivity is very important when assessing these kinds
> of things.
> regards,
> Rickard
Received on Wed Jan 18 2006 - 04:25:43 EST

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