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Semantic Query Editor Flint Gains SPARQL 1.1 Support


Public sector publishing solutions company TSO (the artist formerly known as "The Stationary Office") has announced an upgrade to its web-based open source SPARQL editor, Flint.

NOTE: The W3C defines RDF as a directed, labelled graph data format for representing information on the Web and, in turn, this specification defines the syntax and semantics of the SPARQL query language for RDF. SPARQL can be used to express queries across diverse (and in this case multiple) data sources, whether the data is stored natively as RDF or viewed as RDF via middleware.

Flint v0.5 was originally released in June 2011 — the new version (1.0.3) includes support for the current SPARQL 1.1 specification, with full checking of SPARQL 1.1 syntax, which is more complex than SPARQL 1.0. For those working with SPARQL 1.1 Triplestores, Flint 1.0.3 now supports writing update requests to insert and delete triples, as well as creating queries to run on their stores.

Improvements to the Flint user interface include a "tabbed" screen so developers can work with multiple queries in the same development session.

NOTE: The W3C further specifies that SPARQL contains capabilities for querying "required and optional" graph patterns along with their conjunctions and disjunctions. SPARQL also supports "extensible value testing and constraining queries" by source RDF graphs. The results of SPARQL queries can be results sets or RDF graphs.

TSO's grand claim here is that many existing web-based SPARQL query building tools lack abilities such as context-dependent autocomplete or syntax checking, but… Flint encompasses many of the features developers would expect of traditional Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and code parsers, through its web implementation.

"Flint has been very positively received in the semantic community, which has spurred on our development efforts," said Terry Blake, technical services director at TSO.

"We've built on the excellent v0.5 IDE and now developers can update, insert, and delete data using SPARQL 1.1 language. We believe that we have produced the most feature-rich, free, JavaScript-based SPARQL editor available. As the commercial use of RDF technology grows, Flint is helping prepare a new generation of developers and underpinning real-world uses of SPARQL."


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