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RDF's long lineage in Drupal

RDF has a very long, if quiet, history in Drupal core. In the year 2000, May 18, in what I think is the first commit to the still-going CVS repository that holds the Drupal project — back when Drupal was called drop — Dries Buytaert included a file called rdf.php.

In the root directory of the young CMS, this file had an object-oriented implementation of a basic RDF-focused XML parser and had an RDF headline generator. A month later it was replaced with a more general framework geared to RSS-style XML, and that seems to have been the path ever since.

That wasn't Drupal-specific, of course: RSS instead of RDF is the path the web took. Dries had his finger on both pulses, way back very early on, and this note from the rdf.php file foresaw that possibility:

RDF files are non-proprietary and publically available. Unfortunately, RDF is not the only standard: another commonly used format is RSS which would be nice to support as well.

Two things I extrapolate from this history:

  • Dries is serious about putting RDF in Drupal core. It is one of the first things he put in!
  • I think getting away from the RDF equals XML joining will make it more fun to work with and it will be used a lot more.


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