Netscape shows RDF support

November 20, 1997

Seybold Report on Internet Publishing
Vol 2, No 3

Warnock was followed by Mike Homer, senior VP of Netscape, who unveiled Netscape’s vision of a user interface based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF), which is written in XML syntax. Code-named Aurora, the new user interface will be a future component for Communicator. According to Homer, Aurora underscores Netscape’s earlier announcement that all future Netscape products will support RDF.

Using metadata, Aurora presents a simple hierarchical tree for navigating your own personal view of networked information. Publishers can control the taxonomy as well as the main display window. Using Cnet as an example, Homer described how a publisher could imprint its own identity on the channel bar, while still conforming to the drill-down, outline view that Aurora provides.

For intranet development, Aurora, like Internet Explorer, will be able to view the file system from within the browser. But having a rich set of properties makes it possible to have other points of view. Homer showed how E-mail, calendar items, documents and, of course, Web pages could be gathered into views, such as a user’s to-do list or a specific project.

Assuming that all of these sources have metadata that can be exposed or exported as RDF, Aurora lets the user create views of information by subject, rather than by application. Working documents, E-mail, multimedia and Web pages related to a project all can be viewed in the context of the project, rather than just through the context of the file system or their originating application. The effect is an integrated information viewer or, more simply, the cohesive "webtop." It is the challenge to the Microsoft desktop for which we’ve been waiting.