They seemed to get the big ideas before I could even say them…

Posted on 05/11/2011 by

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Last night, I had the privilege of introducing Kasabi to a room-full of Semantic Web enthusiasts. We had gathered in the back of a rather characterful wine bar just south of the Thames as part of a regular meetup organised by Marco Neumann and Ian Bailey. I had been invited to talk about our new project and answer any questions the group might have.

As it turns out, I did far more answering than presenting as one enthusiastic question followed another. I’d quickly clicked through my introduction slides (see embed below), which simply set a very high-level context for a live demonstration, and had just about logged into Kasabi when the first questions began. I did end up showing everything available in the current release of Kasabi’s beta by the end (I think!), but it was more in way of answering questions than following my script. I’ve said before that I’d rather be interrupted by an eager audience than ignored by a bored one!

The thing that struck me from the questions was that most people seemed to grasp the ideas behind Kasabi before I’d even had a chance to say them. I heard in the questions, versions of our “Big Ideas” and points which illustrate a lot of the vision behind Kasabi. Because of the Linked Data savviness of the group, I wasn’t explaining how SPARQL works or anything, but rather getting down to the whys and hows of our build, and what they could do with Kasabi, and how I might see Kasabi working in certain contexts.

Another thing to come out of the meeting was that people are eager for the ability to publish and curate datasets. In the current release for the developers’ beta, we haven’t yet made any of the tools for dataset publishing available as we build and refine them. So, beta testers can work with all of Kasabi’s APIs and data-access tools over a selection of—mostly open—datasets. Unfortunately this means I was unable to give a live demo of that aspect of Kasabi; but it also means I am now very much looking forward to meeting up with the Semantic Web people again once I can!

It seemed to me that the ability to publish, manage, and update datasets in the same environment that gives developers flexible access to them is one that made sense, and struck most people as a good idea. In discussing how we make this possible, how we implement the technologies, and how we put together our tools, I was able to pull together some very valuable feedback for the rest of the Kasabi team, too.

I would very much like to thank everyone who came to the meetup for listening and so enthusiastically to take part in the time that I had. And I’d also like to thank Marco Neumann and Ian Bailey for inviting me along and organising the meetup.

If anyone had any further questions about Kasabi, or would like me to walk them through the Beta, please drop me a line on zb@talis.com

The slides I used for Kasabi’s context were a somewhat reduced version of these:

Posted in: Conferences