A quick word about SPARQL....
John sent me this link to an InfoWorld article that discusses the changes that will happen once the promise of the Semantic Web becomes reality.
First, congratulations to everyone who worked on SPARQL. I have gleaned some understanding over the last few years what it means to try to get agreement and drive ideas to a finished standards proposal... it's hard.
The title of this post sounds like I'm going to say bad things about SPARQL, but I'm not. SPARQL and the functionality that it will provide is very important and very valuable. I do think that it's important to put it in the context of the XDI and Higgins work that we are engaged in.
RDF and SPARQL will provide more available structured data that can be incorporated into the DataWeb. However SPARQL only addresses a small part of the problems that I talk about on this blog. For example, SPARQL doesn't have identification, authentication and authorization built into it's framework. I think this is a shame; we have seen time and again that building the capability for security into a protocol is far superior to 'bolting it on' or 'wrapping it around'.
SPARQL specifically leaves Update and Insert semantics as 'out-of-scope'. There are lots of use cases for which this is fine. However, there are also lots of use cases where you really need to push values back out.
So SPARQL is great... we will definitely build a standard plugin so that you can consume data available via SPARQL from XDI. We will probably even build a SPARQL query engine on top of our XDI engine so that any public data available from XDI can be accessed via SPARQL.