15.6 What's It All Mean?

In my opinion, Adobe's use of RDF/XML demonstrates how RDF/XML will be integrated in other applications and uses in the future?quietly, behind the scenes. Unlike XML with its public exposure, huge fanfare, and claims of human and machine compatibility and interoperability, RDF was never meant to be anything more than a behind-the-scenes metadata model and an associated serialization format. RDF records statements so that they can be discovered mechanically ? nothing more, nothing less. However, this simple act creates a great many uses of RDF/XML because of the careful analysis and precision that went into building the specification upon which RDF resides and which RDF/XML transcribes.

RDF assures us that any data stored in RDF/XML format in one application can be incorporated with data stored in RDF/XML format in another application, and moving the data from one to the other occurs without loss of information or integrity. While sharing and transmitting, merging and coalescing the data, we can attach meaning to objects stored on the Web ? meaning that can be accessed and understood by applications and automated agents and APIs such as those covered in this book.

As the use of RDF grows, the dissemination of RDF/XML data on the Web increases and the processing of this data is incorporated into existing applications, the days when I'll search for information about the giant squid and receive information on how to cook giant squid steaks will fade into the past. I will be able to input parameters specific to my search about the giant squid into the computer and have it return exactly what I'm looking for, because the computer and I will have learned to understand each other.

This belief in the future of RDF and RDF/XML was somewhat borne out when I did a final search for information on the giant squid and its relation to the legends and to that other legendary creature, Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, as I was finishing this book. When I input the terms giant squid legends Nessie in Google, terms from my subject lists associated with the article that's been used for most of the examples in this book, the PostCon RDF/XML file for my giant squid article was the first item Google returned.

It's a start.