WebFS and DataPortability.org

The work I was going to do with OmniDrive (and their “dozens of partners”) on WebFS is probably never going to happen. I was a bit surprised by their last blog post about OmniDrive’s 1.0 release which states that “The new release will fully implement WebFS and will allow user to mount Gmail, Facebook, Flickr, FTP and many other storage endpoints and to make them accessible from a single point (and API)”, even though, as far as I know, there’s no WebFS spec at all.

Therefore, just before 2007 ended I decided to take WebFS to the data portability workgroup, a group of people promoting and working on standards to make set the user’s data free. Of course, this is what WebFS is all about and thus it seems a good fit.

I am now going to help some people in the data portability workgroup on a project that they had already started — WRFS. The Web Relational FileSystem (don’t worry — just a working title). Some information can be found here. It seems that they have been working mostly on a protocol for data discovery and linking that to the user’s OpenID. So, if you would log in to some WRFS-enabled web application using OpenID, you can instantly give it access to your data (such as pictures, documents and so forth) that you may have stored on other services.

The work I’ve been doing on WebFS is more about how to retrieve, store and manipulate data and data collections. So it seems our work will complement perfectly.

Today and yesterday you read about dataportability.org everywhere, because of mr. Scoble. Who was kicked off facebook for a while, because he used software to pull out all of his friendship information (his “social graph”). Of course, this raises data portability issues. He decided to join the DP workgroup too. Just now, the story broke that Chris Saad (the leader of the DP workgroup) has publicly invited facebook to join DP.

Things can move fast when they involve Robert Scoble.

I don’t care all that much about making social graphs portable, I care more about my other data. Anyway, I’m looking forward to actually making the WebFS/WRFS vision happen. To participate consider joining the public dataportability mailing list.