Now that the autumn is here I have some new projects starting, and running for approximately this month (before jumping out into the real world and trying to get a real job :) ). Good thing is, it all builds upon previous work.
First thing is, I'll work with Egon Willighagen to hook up Bioclipse with Semantic MediaWiki, via the RDFIO extension, which I developed as part of GSoC this year, mentored by Denny Vrandecic. I'm excited about putting RDFIO into some real world usage!
Second thing is I'll work part time at the Bioclipse group to improve the ways user documentation for plugins is authored and published, enabling some automation of publishing content to the Bioclipse website as well as the wiki etc. This will hopefully make it a lot easier for end users to find their desired extra functionality, and make more users see the value of a research platform with an open and modular structure, as is Bioclipse!
I want to thank especially my mentor Denny Vrandečić, and also the SMW community at large for a great time! I also want to sincerely thank my masters project mentor Egon Willighagen who mentioned about, and encouraged me to apply to the program. Without this encouragement, I'd never taken the step. It has been a good time and rewarding, and I've much enjoyed to have time to get a bit into MediaWiki/SMW extensions development, as well as to provide some new functionality to these great bits of software.
The main GSoC coding is now over, and I will need to take a little break for an exam this friday, but surely I'll continue to refine the RDFIO extension later, especially as Egon and me are looking into using it to integrate Bioclipse with SMW in order to make RDF data in Bioclipse "Community editable" (could turn out to be some real useful stuff!).
This new release brings a lot of refactoring and reworkings under the hood, as well as quite a few minor bugfixes and improvements here and there, so upgrading is recommended. We also got the issues in SMWWriter fixed now, so patching it is no longer needed, which hopefully will make installing easier!
Of the more notable changes are the improved selection of wiki titles on import, as described in this blog post. Another important fix is that the default output format (if not specifying any) is now "SPARQL Resultset XML" which now makes the SPARQL endpoint fully "SPARQL compliant" and queryable from typical SPARQL tools like Jena. It is a remaining topic though how to allow update operations without leaving the endpoint wide open ... i.e. how to implement some form of user rights checking, when used as a webservice.
A little technical note also is that RDFIO now takes the $wgDBprefix parameter into account, so if you are using RDFIO with table prefixes in the database, you will need to regenerate the tables and the triples in the store (can be done at the Special:ARC2Admin and Special:SMWAdmin pages respectively).
I should not end without a note about some great bits of existing code that I've had the pleasure to make use of:
This week I just finished the last remaining items on my todo list for my Google Summer of Code project, (which is available in the form of the RDFIO MediaWiki extension). Those things, which I also mentioned in my last blog post were to:
Regarding the first point, it might not be overly easy to see the usefulness of it at once, so I just created a screencast to show the difference between using it and not:
It demonstrates the problem of choosing sensible wiki titles for general RDF entities in case no good property for naming is available, (such as rdfs:label etc) ... since "entity" URIs often just consist of nonsensible id:s and often no namespace prefixes are defined for them. RDFIO lets you add "pseudo" namespaces (using a simplified splitting pattern, not necessarily consistent with XMLns specs), in order to come around this problem.
Hopefully I'll find time to also demonstrate the second point above, as well as the "filter by ontology" feature for the SPARQL endpoint, with screencasts early next week.
Otherwise, the coming week I'll use for doing some refactoring of the currently quite unmanageable code, as well as add commenting, and hopefully also add the feature to filter RDF export by a [[Export RDF::false]] SMW property (which was the "it time permits" item of my TODO list).
(Figured I better do regular status updates, as a lot of small things tend to get missed if blogging only when there is something to show off)
As you might have seen among the GSoC2010 tagged posts I've had a rudimental RDF/XML import, and a SPARQL endpoint (only for querying so far!) up running for a while. You should be able to set up these yourself by following one or more of the instructions in the Google code repo:
I have since worked a bit on some use cases, which revealed a lot of intricacies to take into account on RDF import. One of them was a spinoff discussion, from a blog post by Egon Willighagen, which quite nicely outlines one of the motivations for having general RDF import in MediaWiki (read post, read discussion).
The last few days I've been working on heavly refactoring the import code, so that it is more general and easy to modify in new ways. There is still a lot to be improved in the code, like error handling, documentation, adding more options etc, so feel free to give feedback on the code! (Especially RDFImporter.php and EquivalendURIHandler.php, and preferrably use the mailing lists: semediawiki-devel, semediawiki-user or mediawiki-l)
The RDF import seems to be the most challenging part in my project (and on which the export feature heavily depends) - since it is the part where I'm breaking a bit of new ground, so here feedback is much welcome.
The one most challenging issue is about how to select reasonable wikititles to use for RDF entities on RDF import, based on the RDF data (one relevant blog post here). The question of being able to export the page with the original URI, should not limit the choice directly, since this is already solved by storing the original URI as a property on each page.
The thoughts we have had so far - in short - is:
Using only the label of course has the risk that multiple RDF entities converts to the same wiki title, which is not acceptable for example if using the wiki as a "one time RDF editor", which is one of the motivations for this project.
To solve this, one alternative (as a configurable option) could be to use a pseudo-namespace in the wiki title (e.g. "go" in the above example, which would result in "go:0032283" as the wikititle). This could be configured by creating a mapping between base URI:s and pseudo-namespaces (.e. "http://bio2rdf.org/go:" and "go", in this case).
But then there is the question how to configure this mapping. We've been thinking of a few options:
I will be working ahead, and try to figure out the most reasonable strategy together with Denny (who is my GSoC mentor), but feedback and comments are always welcome! (As said, preferrably send feedback on the mailing lists; semediawiki-devel, semediawiki-user or mediawiki-l!)
If you want to follow the project progress, see the status page for options
The last administrative details of my thesis project are now finished, and the report is now available in final form, for download as PDF in on this page (no 14 in the list), or this direct link. (The title of the project was "SWI-Prolog as a Semantic Web Tool for semantic querying in Bioclipse: Integration and performance benchmarking").
My degree project, titled "SWI-Prolog as a Semantic Web tool for semantic querying in Bioclipse" is getting closer to finish. Now my report is approved by the Scientific Reviewer (thanks, Prof. Mats Gustafsson), so I wanted to make it available here (Download PDF). Reports on typos are welcome of course! :)
The semantic web field has seemed quite void of successful general user interfaces to browse semantic data in an efficient way (SPARQL querying is not really for everybody and their aunt). An interesting approach is the Freebase Parallax which lets you continuously views sets of data all while you narrow down or extend your search criteria, thus "browsing in parallell". Seems to make a lot of sence in its simplicity.
I just had my 3rd, and last project update presentation (before the final presenation on April 28th), presenting results from comparing the performance of the integrated SWI-Prolog against Jena and Pellet, for a spectrum similarity search query. Find the sldes below.
Just aquainted myself a tiny bit with ARC, RDF Classes for PHP. Might be useful in the Bioclipse / Semantic MediaWiki integration that is in the thoughts for the coming months. ARC "framework", or RDF API used by RDF modules in Drupal, and has been talked about being the substitute for the currently used RAP framework in Semantic MediaWiki (used if one wants to set up a SPARQL endpoint for a Semantic MediaWiki).