Linked data

linked data

With so many tools and technologies at our disposal it was confusing for a long time whether to link our data or not, since future changes could quickly convert our asset to a liability. It's still hard to imagine that we might miss something. When an old technology gets replaced, it is good to think what was suboptimal in it, even if the new is sometimes the old with a new label. We can learn a lot this way. I was a bit surprised to read about JSON‐LD on the blog as a new and recommended approach to linked data. (Then I noticed that Google is already using it in Gmail.) So what was wrong with microdata then? My only clue is that it was sprinkled through the entire HTML markup, which could be hard to maintain with large web sites. So the in-place advantage actually becomes a maintanence disadvantage. Probably this is what JSON-LD is trying to solve. It uses the same data types as microdata, but combined with the elegance and cohesiveness of the JSON data format. This allows to separate the content from the metadata and to improve maintanence, especially if we keep a high level mental image of what we want to describe without constantly feeling the need to inspect concrete HTML elements to derive that meaning. In a sense, the clear separation of concerns comes at the price of loss in clarity. Here we see why these approaches are neither interchangeable nor supplementary.