Chapter 7. Building Applications with SPARQL: A Brief Tour

SPARQL isn’t something for all end users on the web to learn any more than JavaScript is. It’s a tool that gives you and your applications access to a greater variety of data and metadata. In this chapter, we’ll learn a little about how to incorporate it into applications so that you can bring these benefits to users who never need to know about SPARQL or the related standards.

Before looking at how different aspects of SPARQL technology can contribute to an application, let’s step back and look at the bigger picture. What role does any query language play in an application? In a typical application scenario, regardless of the choice of technology used, you might have a central store of data and several client processes sending requests to that central store for delivery and perhaps updating of that data. These requests usually ask for subsets of the data that meet certain conditions, and they may specify that the columns of results be in a particular order and that the results are sorted according to the values of one or more of the columns. Upon receiving the results, the client processes use the returned information to achieve their own goals—perhaps rendering information on a display, or turning a machine on or off, or saving some data for use in future calculations.

Using a web browser to look through an online clothing retailer’s T-shirt selection or using a specialized app on your phone to check next week’s weather ...

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