Sparql rocks. But have you actually tried to write Sparql queries?
In good old SQL one would always have a schema as a reference, if nothing else. One can list tables, quickly show their content etc. The fact that data is grouped in tables also lower the number of joins.
RDF is great and requires no upfront schema, but on the other hand.. you have no schema to refer to, no tables to list and explore to understand the data.
In general you get.. a white editbox in which one is supposed to guess classes, properties that are associated to them but more than that .. properties that actually are present in the given dataset (or you’d get 0 results).
This in fact has been a problem also for others dealing with large amounts of freely structured data (e.g. Freebase and their impressive assisted editor) but still notably missing in the RDF/SPARQL world.
Born out of our frustration at DERI for the situation (which in our opinion is a serious problem for semantic tools as a whole) and from our work on large scale RDF analysis, we’re happy that DERI has today announced SparQLed, an editor providing syntax+data support in writing Sparql queries.
SparQLed uses RDF “graph summaries” and the entire query context analysis to provide data assistance, autocompletion, smart ranking of classes and properties when suggesting. RDF Graph summaries can be computed either directly by SparQLed, itself using the same endpoint it is will run the query on or in the clouds using an hadoop functionality (for large datasets/slow sparql endpoints). To learn much more about the underlying technology (the RDF Graph Summary that powers the suggestions) you might want to read and refer to .
Our hopes are that by having this code as open source (AGPL for now, Apache likely soon) a community will be kickstarted that would ultimately make working with RDF and semantic data much easier than it is today.
We sincerely look forward to suggestions and contributions that might help this happening
- The scientific article about aspects of the RDF Graph Summary and some of the operations in the editor:
 Stephane Campinas, Thomas E. Perry, Diego Ceccarelli, Renaud Delbru and Giovanni Tummarello. Introducing RDF Graph Summary With Application to Assisted SPARQL Formulation. WebS, DEXA workshop, 2012.