Chapter 15. A World of Uses: Commercial Uses of RDF/XML

While so much of RDF's early focus has been on the Semantic Web, it's important to note that there are companies that are utilizing RDF and focusing their products on immediate real-world uses. The mark of a technology entering maturity is not the number of technologies it's implemented in, but the number of viable applications that use it. It wasn't until XML started getting wider use within the business community that it become less of a technology for the lab and more of a technology for the office. This same principle holds true for RDF.

Just as happened with XML, and even HTML, it isn't until people see a technology being used for "practical" applications that business starts to become more comfortable in its use. Without business acceptance, developers are hesitant to work with a technology that may not have a payback in terms of job potential. Without mainstream developers supporting the use of, and finding uses for, RDF/XML, its acceptance is going to be limited. Luckily, though, I found several commercial uses of RDF and RDF/XML, in applications ranging from intelligence-community use to more efficient site navigation to alternative database structures and personal information management.

This chapter takes a look at some of the planned and existing commercial applications I found. This includes a personal information manager currently in design (OSAF's Chandler), an Application Server (Intellidimension's RDF Gateway), and Adobe's use of RDF/XML in existing products. In addition, we'll also look at Siderean Software's Seamark server for site navigation, and Plugged In Software's Tucana Knowledge Store for sophisticated searches.

The chapter is by no means an exhaustive summary of the existing potential and commercial uses of RDF; it is, I hope, a comprehensive view of the different uses of RDF within the business community.