Semantic FaceWeb: RDfb is strong use of RDFa

Great news for Semantic Web, Facebook announced that they are going to use more structured metadata in shared web pages then just their original meta tags.

There are two parts to it – first they are going to provide storage about all things withing Facebook and on the internet in JSON format so people can write applications that use this data.

For example, public information about me on Facebook can be seen at this URL:
https://graph.facebook.com/sergey.chernyshev

And here how it looks:

{
   "id": "504972292",
   "name": "Sergey Chernyshev",
   "first_name": "Sergey",
   "last_name": "Chernyshev",
   "link": "http://www.facebook.com/sergey.chernyshev"
}

This way all you need to know is ID, which in my case is sergey.chernyshev or 504972292.

Another side of this is that Facebook is going to also store data from pages that were shared using their share button or added to interests or in any other way loaded into facebook’s system. They will be extracting this data using RDFa format and interpret it using a vocabulary that they call Open Graph Protocol (I will be calling it RDfb).

<html xmlns:og="http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/">
<head>
<title>The Rock (1996)</title>
<meta property="og:title" content="The Rock" />
<meta property="og:type" content="movie" />
<meta property="og:url" content="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117500/" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/rock.jpg" />
...
</head>
...
</html>

This will allow sites to add a few lines of code to their pages to get them recognized as meaningful data instead of just human-readable documents – this will allow smart agents like search engines, mobile applications, embedded systems and just simple widgets to make sense of this data and help people see it in the context that is most usable for them.

I have a feeling that Facebook being a great driver for many business decisions related to promotion and marketing through social media, this change is going to be a best thing that happened to Semantic Web so far, might be even bigger then Yahoo’s and Google’s efforts in universal search.

P.S. Such a great present for my presentation about RDFa tonight ;)

ShowSlow v0.5 is smooth

Many people were frustrated with the graphs ShowSlow was showing as rankings and other measurements change too frequently if your pages are dynamic in nature and show different content on every request.

ShowSlow v0.5 is using rolling average to smooth the graphs, hope it’s going to be easier on your eyes and will help you get more meaning from the graphs.

ShowSlow 0.5 with smoothed graphs

Go ahead and download new version:
http://www.showslow.org/Installation_and_configuration#Getting_the_code

or just type “make” if you installed from Subversion.

WebPageTest.org Demo @ New York Web Performance Meetup

New York Web Performance Group Logo
WebPageTest.org is getting more and more popular, it was included in Google’s epic announcement that site performance is now part of ranking!

So, this Thursday, April 15th, get ready for WebPageTest.org Demo by Nicholas Tang at New York Web Performance Meetup!

If you haven’t RSVPed yet, now is your chance! If you can’t attend please update your RSVP as well to let others in.

http://www.meetup.com/Web-Performance-NY/calendar/12915226/

Don’t forget that we’re back at Interactive One offices and they are also sponsoring pizza and sodas!

Getting there:
205 Hudson Street (entrance on Canal St.)
6th Floor
New York, NY 10013
212-431-4477

Directions: http://bit.ly/bnbCvB
Street view: http://bit.ly/dDrToe (entrance on Canal St.)

Hope to see you all there and please forward it to your friends so they can learn about this great tool!

Presentation will start at 7:00PM. I’ll see you there!

Who’s site is faster – yours or your competitors’?

After I presented ShowSlow at Velocity Online Conference two weeks ago, I got a lot of suggestions regarding the software or a public instance and one of them was from Steve Souders who recommended creating a comparison page where people can see rankings for different sites compared over time.

It immediately resonated with me (G vs. Y! spirit) as I always try to create thought provoking features within ShowSlow that can help business people and developers ask new kinds of questions about their systems. In this case, the question is obvious – “Am I better then my competitors?“.

You can click “Compare rankings” tab on ShowSlow.com to see who is better – Google, Yahoo or Amazon?

Google vs. Yahoo! vs. Amazon YSlow ranking over time

Or you can just enter the URLs you’d like to compare and ShowSlow will display rankings graph for YSlow or PageSpeed (granted that data for these URLs was collected).

Each instance of ShowSlow can have it’s own it’s own set of URLs configured to link from “Compare rankings” tab so you can have your own competition (external or internal) measured.

Send me your fight stories or effect this tool had on your business folks, I’m very interested to see if this thing sparks the interest in performance project you’re running.

Thanks Steve!

Automating YSlow and PageSpeed using Xvfb

I’d like to welcome Aaron Kulick to ShowSlow team!

Aaron was active user and contributed a few patches and then started to actively contribute documentation to the project wiki: showslow.org.

Now Aaron is a full-blown contributor with SVN access and his first contribution is solving the most common problem – how do we automate YSlow and PageSpeed in a headless mode.

He created an automation section in the repository, feel free to check out his code and share your experience: http://code.google.com/p/showslow/source/browse/#svn/trunk/automation.

In two words, all you need to do is:

  • Run a memory framebuffer server (Xvfb)
  • Then configure Firefox profile(s) with different settings disabling some features that require user intervention and enable autorunning the extensions and beacons
  • Then you just create a list of URLs to test and feed it to test_harness.pl script that will launch Firefoxes appropriately

monitor.sh is a simple shell wrapper around the harness script that you can simply run from the cron job.

For more information read the README file and I hope we’ll have more documentation on showslow.org as well!

Please join me in thanking Aaron for this important tool!

Also, just a reminder, if you are not subscribed to a mailing list / google group, you can do that here:
http://groups.google.com/group/showslow