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Mollom's world map of spam

Over the weekend, Ben created a map that visualizes the website spammers in the world as captured by Mollom. The map is updated multiple times a day and visualizes all the spam attempts over a time span of approximately 6 hours. Check out Ben's blog post for more details. Interesting!

Mollom spam map world

Lullabot podcast #65

I was featured on the infamous Lullabot podcast series. Jeff Robbins and I talk about Acquia, Mollom and Drupal 7. Check out the Lullabot podcast #65 (mirror) if you want. We kick it off talking about Acquia, the Mollom part starts around minute 25 and the Drupal part starts around minute 47.

Comment notifications via e-mail

I would like to have a module for Drupal 6 that can send comment notifications via e-mail to people that previously left a comment on my site. I don't want to use the subscriptions module for I don't need a bulky subscriptions framework. I want a light-weight and simple alternative such as the notify module but apparently it is no longer being maintained. A module like notify module would make a good candidate for inclusion into Drupal core so let's port it to Drupal 6, and work on getting it into Drupal 7. Takers?

Microsoft ships Drupal

Microsoft just announced the Web Application Installer. It is an installer designed to help get users of the Windows operating system up and running with some popular web applications. Guess what? It comes with support for Drupal. I don't know enough about their roadmap but this could introduce Drupal to millions of new users. Oh my!

From the Web Application Installer page: Web Application Installer provides support for popular ASP.Net and PHP Web applications including Graffiti, DotNetNuke, WordPress, Drupal, OSCommerce and more. With just a few simple clicks, Web Application Installer will check your machine for the necessary pre-requisites, download these applications from their source location in the community, walk you through basic configuration items and then install them on your computer.

I don't have a Windows machine so I can't test it out, but it sounds like a great way for Windows users to explore Drupal. (Hat tip: Jelle Druyts)

Drupal, the semantic web and search

All major search engines, including Google and Yahoo!, are moving aggressively trying to capture structured data. This isn't exactly a surprise because it provides tremendous opportunity. Let's take the example of product search. Imagine the web as a huge database of millions of products, and search engines like Google and Yahoo! giving you a rich set of controls to filter by price, availability, color, shipping cost, user ratings, and more. Wouldn't it be great to be able to search all the world's products from a single page with a single interface? I'd think so too.

It is waiting to happen; we just have to connect the dots. That is, we have to make Drupal emit structured information.

Hundreds of thousands of Drupal sites contain vast amounts of structured data, covering an enormous range of topics, including product information. Unfortunately, that structure is hidden deep in Drupal's database and doesn't surface to the HTML code generated by Drupal. As such, search engines can't pick it up as a product, and they'd fail to include it in their world-wide product database.

I first talked about the semantic web and Drupal in my DrupalCon keynote last year in Boston. In my presentation, I laid down the challenge that we need to put fields in core and make them first class citizens. Once fields are thus empowered, they can be associated with rich, semantic meta-data that Drupal could output in its XHTML as RDFa. For example, say we have an HTML textfield that captures a number, and that we assign it an RDF property of 'price'. Semantic search engines then recognize it as a 'price' field. Add fields for 'shipping cost', 'weight', 'color' (and/or any number of others) and the possibilities become very exciting. I envision a Drupal core CCK with the power to do just that.

Here is another example. Imagine a standard Drupal node-type called 'job'. The fields in the job node-type would have RDF properties associated with them mapping to salary, duration, industry, location, and so on. Creating a new job posting on a Drupal site would generate RDFa that semantic search engines like Yahoo!'s SearchMonkey would pick up and the job would be included in their world-wide job database.

Technologies like this disintermediate so many existing websites and organizations that it makes my head spin. It is too great an opportunity for us to pass up on. By adding semantic technology to Drupal core, I think we can make a notable contribution to the future of the web.

This kind of technology is not limited to global search. On a social networking site built with Drupal, it opens up the possibility to do all sorts of deep social searches - searching by types and levels of relationships while simultaneously filtering by other criteria. I was talking with David Peterson the other day about this, and if Drupal core supported FOAF and SIOC out of the box, you could search within your network of friends or colleagues. This would be a fundamentally new way to take advantage of your network or significantly increase the relevance of certain searches.

I can has semweb in Drupal core?

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