Things You Didn’t Know About – FOAF

This is going to be the first in a series of posts “documenting” (I use the term loosely) largely unknown or unused features of, stuff that you don’t generally find in your bog standard vBulletin install. I may occasionally post something of community significance, but my primary goal is to inform interested techies :)

The first Tydka-Bie is about the long forgotten FOAF functionality that Daddy-Cloud put into the system many moons ago. Incidentally, this particular entry is inspired by a post from David over on the echolibre blog.

The FOAF data is exposed via the URL:$id

So, for example, to retrieve the FOAF data for my personal account, you would access

This will give you a nice, simple listing of some of my profile data and the people in my friends list (Update: nice as far as a programmer is concerned, this is an unformatted XML list). This was introduced several years ago, and forgotten about several years ago, so there is likely new, useful data which could be incorporated using the rdf:foaf ontology, as well as some information that is maybe outdated. I’m open to suggestions for updating/expanding the use for this.

If you’re interested in using FOAF, you may also find SIOC interesting, the development of which has been spearheaded by’s own John Breslin, and is essentially an effort to make user “social web” information more portable around the Internet, to open up the data. I did some brief work with the SIOC team on prototyping a plugin for vBulletin in early 2008 which doesn’t appear to have made it to the applications section, so I may look into it again myself.

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 2, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I found the XML very interesting. It could allow someone say to map all the connections between people on boards and see just how related we all are to Kevin Bacon, who, incidentally, has a account.

    In short, XML is a good thing.