Tecknik.net: FOAF Autocreation

What does this do?

The FOAF autocreation script takes two links - one to your current FOAF file and one to your OPML blogroll - and produces a brand new FOAF file for you. How? By crawling through the sites in your blogroll looking for autodiscovery links and combining any data it finds with the <foaf:Person> data from your existing FOAF file.

More questions are answered beneath the form...

The form

Source Code

The FOAF Autocreation script is available for use under the terms of the GNU General Public License:

FOAF Autocreation 2.1

What is FOAF?

FOAF is an acronym for Friend of a Friend, and is an RDF vocabulary for describing personal information that enables you to semantically connect your information to that of people you know. By joining this metadata together, it ultimately creates an interconnected community of users across the Internet. A six degrees of separation type-of-thing.

In short, a FOAF file is like an XML version of an About Me page.

See also:

Why should I create a FOAF file?

RDF - a computer language created with grand visions of interconnecting all the information that's made available to us - is incredibly underutilised across the popular web (i.e. personal websites). FOAF was intended as a relatively easy introduction to RDF, and by supporting the format you are allowing us geeks to slowly come up with better and more useful applications.

The following tools use FOAF files:

See also: FOAF Wiki: FAQ: Why should I create a FOAF document?

What is autodiscovery?

Autodiscovery allows a program to find any specific files it wants automatically, without you having to tell it manually every time it goes looking for them.

In this case, we want the latest FOAF information our friends are outputting, without having to read each and every FOAF file manually. Instead, the program crawls through your blogroll looking to see if anyone has an autodiscovery link to their FOAF file and, if they have one, gets the information for you.

To enable FOAF autodiscovery on your site, and allow programs to automatically find your FOAF file, adjust the following code to link to your own file and put it in the head of your homepage:

<link rel="meta" type="application/rdf+xml" title="FOAF" href="foaf.rdf" />

See also: FOAF Wiki: Autodiscovery

Limitations of the FOAF Autocreation Tool

Just to be clear, this tool won't work with every FOAF file imaginable. It's not very intelligent, and relies on your file using the most common names for the data it contains. Technically speaking, this is because it works off regular expressions instead of being RDF and namespace aware. Luckily this won't affect most people, so don't worry about it too much.

It also assumes that it is OK to write over the top of the current list of people you know with the new list that it will generate. This is a bad thing if you have listed people who aren't on your blogroll. If you know a wee bit about FOAF, you can get around this by referring to those people through ID references. The FOAF Autocreation tool will then keep these people in the updated file. In all honesty, this is another bug with the script, but I decided to keep it in so users could use it this way.

Online social networking gives you online consumers a indicates of connecting and sharing info with other individuals and groups who share widespread passions and goals.

Although far more popularly recognized as socializing boards, social networking web-sites also perform an important part in assisting on the web as well as off line organizations attain their small business goals. Social networking platforms offer you companies a forum for reaching out to probable customers outside of the speedy group.

Social networking internet sites, primarily 'friend-of-a-friend' (FOAF) social networking web pages these as MySpace and Friendster, are primarily built to specifically hook up like minded persons and groups. Members interact with one another applying several progressive resources including discussion discussion boards and private or public messages.

An FOAF network usually shows directories featuring individuals or subjects that all members can browse by. Every time you find a different member with similar passions, it is possible to send the member a concept requesting being added to their checklist of contacts. This provides you the opportunity to meet other like minded people from that member's network, thereby multiplying your organization's contacts quicker than you would while in the serious globe. With every additional human being you include, your network has the possibilities to grow exponentially.

When you can produce a profile on as numerous websites when you desire to, updating quite a few unique profiles and doing work with numerous unique platforms might be a challenging and time consuming process. Much better to shell out a while studying the features and user base of different social networking sites and deciding on a person or two which might be ideal suited for your personal reason than to concentration on every single social networking site.

Here are several with the a lot more prevalent FOAF social networking internet sites. Though fundamental memberships are free in every one of these sites, you have to pay a subscription price if you needed further functionality.


The tenth most visited internet site in February 2006, MySpace can be an extremely well known social networking web page. It doesn't cater to some specific audience but offers you the liberty to be part of any among the a large number of groups dependant upon your parts of curiosity and experience.

MySpace delivers users concept boards and weblogs, classified advert sections, a area for announcing approaching events and also the opportunity for posting movies, all of which could possibly be made use of as powerful means for promotion your small business to some bigger audience.


A social networking web site which is quite subject material centered, Gather presents customers plentiful equipment for sharing their tales with people. Collect lets members publish blogs (named content) and photographs, which might be tagged also as rated in accordance with how beneficial there're on the other users. Images and content pieces which have the highest rankings show up around the residence page boosting the visibility in the web site.


Even though Flickr won't offer individual consumer blogs, it does permit you kind groups or be part of present groups wherever it is possible to upload pictures and share them with other members.

You'll be able to also add feedback and tags towards your photos building it less difficult for search engines like google and also other end users to search out you. An thought that's swiftly gaining recognition is publishing pictures on Flicker under a Artistic Commons license.

This gives other people the explicit permission to add these images to their blogs, hence swiftly growing the existence of one's business elsewhere on the internet.

© 2002 - 2005 Marcus Campbell