Recently at a Technorati party I discovered a poster hanging on the wall for the XHTML Friends Network. I must say I was impressed how an entire specification could fit on a little poster. And, since I have been excited about FOAF lately, I was eager to see what another social networking technology could bring to the table.
It turns out XFN takes a good stab at filling the relationship-type gap left by FOAF. With XFN, you can say this person is a friend, a colleague, family, etc. In fact, that is basically all XFN does, perhaps benefiting from the ease-of-uptake enjoyed by elemental technologies. FOAF, while much more robust in specifying personal profile information, has no provision for ontology (semantic relationship descriptions).
One of the creators of XFN, Tantek Çelik, was there to point out that there is already a spider/aggregator for the XFN network over at rubhub, as well as a collection of other tools to help you create and browse XFN information. And then while I enjoyed plenty of delicious curry chicken skewers, Marc Canter told me that since FOAF and XFN are both existing technologies, there will probably soon be some über technology that will be able to combine both networks.
I’ve gone ahead and tried out XFN here on my blog, both in the blogroll and in the entries. Here is how its done:
- Add the attribute
profile="http://gmpg.org/xfn/11"to the the
<head>element of the page to identify it to robots as part of the XFN network.
- Put XFN information in
<a href>links that refer to actual people.
And for good karma, you could also add the chiclet: