Federated Social Web Summit

I’m in Portland today and taking part in the Federated Social Web Summit, before attending OSCON for the next week. Today is so far packed with lighting presentations from all sorts of companies, projects and protocols in the space to bring us all up to speed. After lunch we’re going to all be discussing and looking at how we can put together all the building blocks and bring to life this concept of a federated social web. Here are my (long) notes on all the projects etc from the morning:

Apologies to any names I’ve misspelled, product names I’ve left out, etc.


Idea: Subscribe to vCard/hCard via LDAP gateway

I was talking to Blake the other day about Plaxo, and about how the need it tried to fill (keeping everyone’s contact details up to date) was a valid one, but that it really didn’t live up to that goal. That got me thinking about how a big hole in the distribution of contact details was that you couldn’t “subscribe” to a vCard (contact details) in the same way that you can to an iCal (event/calendar details). Let’s fix that.

I’m imagining an online service (perhaps even just a WordPress plugin?) where you can set up URLs that point to either vCards that are online, or web pages that contain hCards. The system would then periodically (daily?) parse those URLs and load the details into a local cache/database.

The contents of the local cache would be exposed via an LDAP directory, allowing you to connect products such as the Apple Address Book to that directory. Those details would automatically be up-to-date, based on the last time their source URLs were parsed.

This would effectively eliminiate part of the need for services like Plaxo, and would give each person control over their contact information. Ideally the requests could be authenticated so that people sharing their contact details could control their distribution. With DiSo on the way, this would be hot.