Query Language for Web Apps Expanded by W3C
- By Dian Schaffhauser
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which develops Web standards, published three new semantic Web standards for SPARQL (pronounced "sparkle"), a query language. SPARQL queries hid the details of data management, which makes it easier for users to access multiple data sources.
Because SPARQL has no tie to a specific database format, it can be used to work with Web 2.0 data and mash it up with other semantic Web resources. Also, because disparate data sources may not have the same "shape" or share the same properties, SPARQL is designed to query non-uniform data.
Trying to use the Semantic Web without SPARQL is like trying to use a relational database without SQL," explained Tim Berners-Lee, W3C director, in a press release. "SPARQL makes it possible to query information from databases and other diverse sources in the wild, across the Web."
There are 14 implementations of SPARQL available, many open source. For example, Hewlett-Packard's Jena Semantic Web framework, a freely available open source Java framework for building semantic Web applications, now includes SDB, a SPARQL database system.
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About the author: Dian Schaffhauser covers high tech, business and higher education for a number of publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.