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Day: January 15, 2008

W3C Opens Data on the Web with SPARQL

W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) announced the publication of SPARQL, the key standard for opening up data on the Semantic Web. With SPARQL query technology, pronounced “sparkle,” people can focus on what they want to know rather than on the database technology or data format used behind the scenes to store the data. Because SPARQL queries express high-level goals, it is easier to extend them to unanticipated data sources, or even to port them to new applications. Many successful query languages exist, including standards such as SQL and XQuery. These were primarily designed for queries limited to a single product, format, type of information, or local data store. Traditionally, it has been necessary to formulate the same high-level query differently depending on application or the specific arrangement chosen for the relational database. And when querying multiple data sources it has been necessary to write logic to merge the results. These limitations have imposed higher developer costs and created barriers to incorporating new data sources. The goal of the Semantic Web is to enable people to share, merge, and reuse data globally. SPARQL is designed for use at the scale of the Web, and thus enables queries over distributed data sources, independent of format. Because SPARQL has no tie to a specific database format, it can be used to take advantage of “Web 2.0” data and mash it up with other Semantic Web resources. Furthermore, because disparate data sources may not have the same ‘shape’ or share the same properties, SPARQL is designed to query non-uniform data. The SPARQL specification defines a query language and a protocol and works with the other core Semantic Web technologies from W3C: Resource Description Framework (RDF) for representing data; RDF Schema; Web Ontology Language (OWL) for building vocabularies; and Gleaning Resource Descriptions from Dialects of Languages (GRDDL), for automatically extracting Semantic Web data from documents. SPARQL also makes use of other W3C standards found in Web services implementations, such as Web Services Description Language (WSDL).

Atlassian Partners with EditGrid to Expand Features of Hosted Wiki

EditGrid, the online spreadsheet, is now available to customers that use the hosted versions of Confluence, the enterprise wiki from Atlassian. The EditGrid Plugin for Confluence allows for real-time collaboration of spreadsheets within Confluence Hosted or Confluence Enterprise Hosting. With EditGrid, users can create or insert spreadsheets into Confluence pages. They can also edit the spreadsheet collaboratively. The resulting spreadsheet is saved as an attachment within the Confluence pages in Microsoft Excel format, allowing Confluence to manage the revision history. Some of the features of the EditGrid plugin include: Real-time updates – allows multiple users to see dynamic changes to a spreadsheet; Remote data update – retrieves live financial data on the Web and stores it in a spreadsheet; Import and export: accepts file formats such as Microsoft Excel, CSV, HTML, Gnumeric, Lotus, OpenOffice and assigns fine-grained access control; and Live chat – enables multiple users to discuss changes from within EditGrid, no need to switch to another chat application. EditGrid is free for Confluence Hosted and Confluence Enterprise Hosting customers, and it is available starting today. For more information please visit,,

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