Wednesday, February 02, 2005

On the way towards SW

After exchanging a few emails with Danny Ayers (who forced me to formulate some MR related thoughts - thanks Danny ;-) I decided to describe in more details e-mentality future, and how MR fits to this jigsaw.

To start with, be sure that MR is just beginning. Both in terms of technical implementation and functionality. As you probably determined, released MR version is in fact a prototype. A lot of work have to be done to make it work properly.
But purpose of this (and future) MR releases is to establish basic building block of e-mentality. I.e. MR accomplished its mission. Currently I simply don't want to take care of technical details - I just want to show the direction.

As far as the future of MR is concerned, I want to go after my primary goal - Sematic Web enabled user agent allowing you to practice mapping of your mind that can be shared with others.

In other words I want to enable MR users to:

  • "Materialize" their thoughts in a way that is comprehensible both for humans and machines.

  • Categorize their own concepts using convenient taxonomies in order to let machines suspect what is going on.

  • Annotate thoughts of others and navigate through them using "human mind friendly" views/representations.

What I DON'T want to do is semantics inferencing engine, ToDo list,
time organizer, RDF editor, cool graphics navigator, etc.
I DON'T believe in AI driven agents solving complex tasks, reliable expert system frameworks or semantic inferencing engines emulating human mind - your mind is unique and cann't be replaced. Understand it!

I prefer to keep things simple - therefore (after a few "wrong way" attempts coping with general graphs & RDF) I decided to build on top of traditional outliners approach that is proven by time.

Note that MR is ready for vision stated above - "behind the scene" is REST-wise data model, flexible resource representation and extensible metadata layer describing underlaying resources.

You may await feature-release roadmap corresponding to this vision soon. Stay tuned :-)

Conclusion: Focus matters, features suck.



Blogger Murray Altheim said...

Martin, in reading over the available e-mentality documentation, the list of links of related projects (TouchGraph, MindMap, etc.), I'm struck by the similarity of it to my own project, called Ceryle, though I quickly found the limitations of the "Semantic Web" much too restrictive in doing any productive real-world modeling (and frankly have little interest in or share the W3C's vision or approach).

Someone like Barry Smith provides a much richer palette from which to pluck some low-hanging fruit than the monotonicity of OWL/Description Logics. I find it hard to see how anyone who sufficiently understands the problem space in which DL is the solution would choose it to do ontology modeling of any except the most tightly-defined domains, say military or corporate business — who after all are the ones primarily financing the Semantic Web. For the kinds of applications I have in mind (and given your description of the focus of e-mentality, you as well), DL seems completely unsuitable.

In terms of the things you aim to have e-mentality support and the things you say you DON'T want to do, well, sounds pretty similar to Ceryle, except I'm using Topic Maps and you're using RDF. And despite all the Semantic Web talk and the links to OWL, it seems your emphasis is decidedly not a "Semantic Web" one, but perhaps still some sort of semantic web application. But I don't intend to put words or labels in your mouth. Features don't suck, labels suck.

And as to features sucking, an application with focus but no features isn't going to be of much use to people. I think I get your point, but the devil's in the details, and for the last three years I've been putting in 40-90 hours a week doing not much of anything else except R&D on this project (which might be considered by some as "focus"), and most of that time has been spent in implementing features. So with that, there's a prima facie question: I've been working more than full-time on this for the last three years and only recently released a first alpha. Unless you plan to go beyond simple prototypes, are you sure you've got the energy? :-)

2:32 PM  
Blogger mindforger said...

... and Martin comments ;-)

Perhaps the key is that e-mentality is not intended to be commercial sofware. As I mentioned in the first post of this blog/MR documentation - I don't want to compete with some other application of this type and beat it. I'm not in hurry. I don't need to release on time.

Obviously I participate on other projects beside e-mentality. My wife is pretty :-), I have a lot of hobbies, so this project is just one of my activities. I simply need a lot of time to make my mind, even 3 years... MR alpha was finished in 2 weeks during Christmas, before that I didn't write a line of code for 8 months.

For me, e-mentality is kind of 'technology trainer' - application allowing me to test interesting technologies, patterns and paradigms. Piece of software which I use to learn new things and improve
my skills.

In other words - I'm like Linux user in its early days: more than using the system I like its configuration, maintenance and tuning. The process itself is what is the most valuable for me.

8:45 AM  

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