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Re: SPIN prospects

From: Holger Knublauch <holger@knublauch.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 11:42:37 +1000
Message-ID: <5109CC0D.1060304@knublauch.com>
To: semantic-web@w3.org
My guess whether people want to use SPIN or not depends on their 
background. Clearly for many programmers it is better to take full 
control without having another execution engine in the middle. Also the 
complexity of the RDF syntax (which basically required the use of a 
tool) was a show stopper for some. The latter problem has been addressed 
though, see my email announcing the Turtle-friendly simplified SPIN 
syntax [1].

However, not everyone is a programmer. SPIN addresses a different 
problem than executing a bunch of SPARQL queries. It provides a 
vocabulary for modeling and sharing the meaning and behavior of semantic 
web resources. SPIN definitions can be published as linked data, just 
like people share OWL restrictions to clarify the meaning of OWL classes.

One benefit of using SPIN is that it defines standard properties and 
URIs that can limit the proliferation of ad-hoc mechanisms that would 
otherwise appear. Properties such as spin:rule and spin:constraint 
clarify the role of a SPARQL query within a model. Furthermore, the 
attachment of those rules and constraints to classes can create much 
more maintainable query libraries than plain lists of CONSTRUCTs. (As a 
side-bar, David: SPIN rules can also be INSERT/DELETE commands). This 
object-oriented attachment also allows execution engines to select which 
constraints and rules need to be executed for a given context resource.

Another key feature of SPIN is the ability to define and share new 
SPARQL functions without programming them in Java [5]. Furthermore, SPIN 
provides a simple yet powerful template mechanism that allows anyone to 
make up their own domain-specific modeling language, even including 
visual notations like SPINMap [6].

FWIW I have received confirmation from Kingsley that OpenLink Software 
is adding some form of SPIN support to their products. AllegroGraph 
already supports defining SPIN functions natively, similar to stored 
procedures. Needless to say, TopQuadrant has a whole technology stack 
built on top of SPIN [2], and some of this is available via free tools 
[3] or open source APIs [4]. I hope with the recent generalization of 
the SPIN syntax, more companies will adopt it.

And yes, a full W3C process beyond the Member Submission is still a 
possibility. If only those processes were not so time consuming! 
Meanwhile I believe the market will decide, and SPIN is already a 
de-facto standard in certain areas.


[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/semantic-web/2013Jan/0147.html
[3] http://www.topquadrant.com/products/TB_Composer.html
[4] http://topbraid.org/spin/api/
Received on Thursday, 31 January 2013 01:43:11 UTC

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