For the past week or so I was able to work with data.gov.uk to find a possibility to make use of government/public data for a nice sample gadget, that will work in the Gadget Server. However it is quite disappointing to see most of these data are in lengthy PDF files, and without some expensive processing these data could not be consumed easily. The happy scenarios in my mind was, that there will be a bunch of RESTfull web services where I can request for public data and in return I will get the result set in XML or (and if am really lucky) in JSON ;)
After some browsing over the data in the UK data site, There was one interesting area which is called SPARQL and that was my moment of joy :D. there were six government data endpoints which I can query against and the result set can be retrieved as XML or JSON. This was the ideal scenario, even the available data is limited, there it starts the story of the Semantic Web.
When I was reading for my bachelor’s thesis, under service orchestration and chirography, the concepts of semantic web (services) were discussed in length. However the idea is still in its early stages, and there is still no real business use-case for it. The very purpose of semantic web is that the resources of the WEB and there relationships can be self explained and explored.
Self Explainable RDF graph
I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.
– Tim Berners-Lee, 1999
The UK data site has offered chunks of eduction, transport, financial, environmental, analytical and statutory notices as RDF data endpoints which can be queried using SPARQL (SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language).
So why let this great opportunity to lay dry, my idea was simply to use these endpoints and query these data and display them in some gadgets, for instance with transport data we can draw traffic details in maps, or with financial and educational data we can create some graphs and charts.
But with some thought, WHY NOT go for mashing up, We have a great tool (WSO2 Mashup Server) just made for that. So I was cutting code for the past whole week to create a custom host object in the Mashup Server to query RDF (RDF Service endpoints or RDF Data sources) data, and am almost done, the host object is created, two mashup services are created (Query a RDF endpoint/and RDF data source) now its a matter of integrating the services with Google Maps API and visualize them as a gadget in the Gadget Server.
So yeah the good stuff will be in the next post. keep tuned :D