There is much ado about the coming Semantic Web and the dream of objectifying all the data in the world allowing machines to exchange mindshare, yada, yada, yada. But what happens to old web pages when they die? Do they go to HTTP heaven? And when this glorious web for machines supplants the Legacy Web (that messy old WWW), what will we all do with our fancy browsers? Where will we find the fuel to power our AJAX rocket engines? And how will humans survive the rising tide of <tag><mytag>
</mytag></tag> drive by taggings?
The truth is that while the semantic web will find some heavy hitters to knock it out of the park in a variety of industrial and scientific arenas, I'm not sure the messy old WWW is ready for retirement just yet. I doubt the content switch will occur very rapidly in most corners of the world given that most users of the web currently are human and they use the mundane web browser occasionally flicking the AJAX booster switch and dreaming of the connected client days of yore.
We humans like messes. Just look around your office if you don't believe me. Four out of five dentists recommend a messy desk for a healthy work life. And if you don't believe me, Google it.
Still, the semantic web bears some level of intrigue beyond its obvious usefulness in some areas of business and science. In fact, I'd love to have a browser that would help me make more sense of the mess on the WWW or even the mess on my desk.
My New Year's resolution is to explore that idea and determine whether or not it can be done in the messy old WWW world without holding a gun to the head of all those gumbah's with an HTML six shooter in their belt.