For a couple of us “propeller heads” here at YarcData, we had a semi-earth-shattering moment when the SPARQL 1.1 specification became a recommendation. Yes, I’m aware of how that sounds; however, please bear with me a moment longer while I share a bit of my excitement.
I started working with ontologies back in 2001 and have come to love this form of knowledge representation and the semantic web technologies that accompany it. The idea of being able to describe the world in terms that are adequately descriptive and yet elegant is a bit of a geek love of mine. Once I discovered RDF and SPARQL, I have been working to do what I can, in my own little corner of the world (no jokes about that being a closet please), to progress the state of this technology that has such high potential to change the way we think and interact with computers.
These days, I am but one member on a team who qualify as implementers of this standard. While I am not a member of the Sematic Web Working Group, and thus not an authoritative source of information on their activity, I can tell you that work on SPARQL 1.1 has been in progress at least four years (the first draft was published October 22, 2009; the recommendation on Mar 21, 2013).
Coming from a RDBMS background as applications developer and DBA, I tend to enjoy working with SPARQL and trying to come up with elegant ways to query data and exploring the nuances of this language and its companion that is RDF.
So, now bear with me a moment longer while I share with you a “where were you when [X] happened moment…” Yesterday, a colleague, Rob Vesse, and I were filming a new video for our website. I was in the back of the room while he was shooting a segment in which he mentioned passingly in his dialog that SPARQL was still in “proposed recommendation” status. I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be kind of funny if they released the final version today,” this having a fairly large impact on our jobs as implementers of this standard.
One of the more challenging tasks of any developer is trying to design and develop to a moving target, so we have been kind of anxiously awaiting the day it would become a “recommendation” of the W3C, the final state of any specification traveling through the W3C standards development process. So, immediately following the wrap of his shoot, I grabbed my laptop to check, and sure enough it was perhaps only hours after the semantic web working group decided to publish the final recommendation status of the SPARQL 1.1 spec. This produced a sufficiently funny “You’ve got to be kidding me” kind of a response from Rob, when I shared with him the news, since he didn’t want to go back and redo his whole spiel.
As a data geek, I dream of a day when people and computers are able to talk to each other in a language absent of ambiguity, holes, dead ends and “No results found.” And pardon me whilst I get my geek on, in what I think may someday be a small milestone towards that vision of the future…but thanks for hanging in with me while I did.
With that I bid you “query on…”