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Registry Update: Details on Activity Streams Additions

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Categories: Announcements, Best Practices, Registry, Spec Effort, Statements

Posted 13 August 2013

 

The Registry has been up for a few weeks. A number of people have created profiles and started using it to catalog their data types. It’s great!

There are a couple things here, and it really comes down to the fact that we’re looking to collect everything that’s being used. Looking at a collection of everything makes deciding what to use (and how to use it) a little more complicated, but in a good way.

Activity Streams IDs have been added

We just finished adding verbs and activity types from Activity Streams’ registry. You will notice a few duplicate terms between the ADL URIs and the Activity Streams URIs, this is not something to worry about. It’s part of the reason for why we built the registry, the terms that are duplicated have different identifiers and both already exist in statements out there. Meaning, we can’t pick one to show exclusively or change them. The best thing to do is to put them all into a place where you can easily find the identifiers and what they mean. This helps in making sense of the data, and it also helps people see all of their options when they are picking an identifier to use.

Using Activity Streams IDs

This leads into the second important thing. There are a number of entries with which we included a note about not using them in new Tin Can statements, literally a “do not use” label. You’ll see those notes at the ends of the descriptions. It’s important to be complete for the purpose of data conversion, but because there are a number of differences between the Tin Can and Activity Streams specifications, some of the identifiers from Activity Streams won’t make sense in a Tin Can statement as they have been defined.

There are other entries that we didn’t go so far as to say “do not use,” but be cautious about how they will affect the structure of your statements if you do decide to use them. Take the activity type ‘comment.’ We wouldn’t expect comment to frequently be used as a Tin Can activity type, but it could be. More often the text of a comment is going to go in results than be an activity itself. If the comment is the activity, each comment will have an ID (which is cumbersome and has to be created on the fly). This would be statements like “I posted <comment>.” The better route with comments is to make a statement like “I commented <comment> on <something>.” This really more about granularity. The question to ask yourself is: When using activity types from Activity Streams, first consider if they provide the desired level of granularity for the statement you’re making. Do you want a different identified activity for each instance of this object?

We’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to encourage a working data ecosystem around these specs, enough time to make you laugh… or cringe. Getting statement structure right can be tricky, and we’re happy to help you. Just get in touch.

 
  • Francois

    Hello,

    It would be nice to have a way to retrieve the data from the registry (as a CSV file maybe) so we can use real data to do some testing. Do you think that’s something that can be done ?

    Thanks,
    Francois

  • Francois

    Nevermind, I didn’t notice that the list was actually built off a REST web service so I’ve got all I need :)

  • http://tincanapi.com Brian Miller

    Aces for learning to fish! We’ve not publicized the API as we weren’t sure it is 100% set but I think you can probably use what is there without too much worry. We do plan to add a bit more around it for things that API users might need. If while developing against it you find something missing please drop us a line with a suggestion. I make no guarantees but the more requests we get for something the more likely we are to implement it.

  • Brian Miller

    Aces for learning to fish! We’ve not publicized the API as we weren’t sure it is 100% set but I think you can probably use what is there without too much worry. We do plan to add a bit more around it for things that API users might need. If while developing against it you find something missing please drop us a line with a suggestion. I make no guarantees but the more requests we get for something the more likely we are to implement it.

  • http://www.radialsoft.com BrunoWinck

    Great job. The more it goes the more I like this registry.

    Two (3) quick questions
    - I can’t see any verb with mention “do not use”. The truth is that I don’t click on all of them.
    - I wish I could download the whole registry on a regular basis (daily) into json format in a single call and have a preprocessing stage where statements are checked against it (a kind of lint for statements). Yes it’s a client side, there a rest call somewhere but i would prefer it to be advertised, even unformally + to who should we report in case of pb.
    - I wish to have a new verb, I come, I enter it, I use it. No workflow ?

  • Meganbowe

    Thanks Bruno!

    In the verbs there are a couple, but not a ton. A good example are the three verbs about RSVPing and the state of the RSVP (rsvp-yes, rsvp-no, rsvp-maybe). The note about not recommending their use is the last line in the description on all of them.

    Good thought on downloading. We are shoring up the API now to make sure it’s ready for showtime and we will put up documentation on that very soon. Hopefully it will get what you need there.

    To add a brand new verb, you come here and submit the verb’s name and description. It will be sent through curation, just to make sure it doesn’t duplicate the meaning of a verb that’s already in use. Once approved it gets added to the registry and we will send you the URI for it. The only things in the registry that don’t go through this curation process are activities because they are so highly specific to the environment they’re used in. If you’re submitting a verb that’s already in use in statements but new to the registry, the process is a little different because you will need to submit the existing URI too.

  • http://www.radialsoft.com BrunoWinck

    Got it,
    What I don’t understand though is why at all you did put these RSVP. You could have save time by just copying them.
    FYI: Disqus send me your response the day after and in between I decided to move forward and not wait for your answer. No harm.

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