Friday, December 2, 2011

Publishing HTML created with SPARQL Web Pages

Last week we saw how to use SPARQL Web Pages (SWP) to render customized HTML of individual class instances and how to create a web page of all that class's instances with a title at the top. The fine-grained control that SWP gives us over the generated HTML let us take advantage of the jQuery Mobile libraries so that the sample TopBraid application generated web pages appropriate for a smartphone interface, with buttons that expand and collapse at your touch to display details about each class instance.

Testing this application meant choosing from two alternatives:

  • The first was to run it on TopBraid Composer's built-in TopBraid Live Personal Server, which let us look at the page from any web browser running on the same machine.

  • Uploading the application's project to a TopBraid Live Enterprise Server, where multiple devices, including phones, could access it.

Either way, because TopBraid Live generates these web pages dynamically, if the underlying data is changed, refreshed versions of the web page would reflect this, making TopBraid a great platform for interactive semantic web applications for any device.

You don't have to have a TopBraid Live Enterprise server to deliver pages generated by SWP, though. A simple SPARQLMotion script can save your formatted HTML in disk files that you can copy to a web server that may or may not have TopBraid Live installed. Using this technique, you can use the TopBraid platform to create semantic content publishing applications as well as interactive applications.

The following SPARQLMotion script, which is stored in the application file described last week, does this for the mobile Kennedys web application.

mobile Kennedys app SPARQLMotion script

The first module is an sml:ImportRDFFromWorkspace module that reads the file that this script is stored in. That file has the Kennedys data and the SWP formatting markup so that this data can be fed to the next step in the process.

The second module, named mk:GenerateHTML, is an sml:CreateUISPINDocument SPARQLMotion module (from the Text Processing section of the SPARQLMotion palette) whose key setting is its sml:view property, which has the following:


It's a snippet of XML specifying that the module should create a resource view for the specified resource, which is identified here with a complete URI. (The URI's delimiting angle brackets are escaped because they're in an XML attribute.) The real work to make this happen was all described in the last blog entry, which showed how the SWP code to generate a complete web page was attached to the resource. The mk:GenerateHTML module in this script also specifies that this generated markup will be stored in a variable named doc.

The final mk:SaveFile module in the script is an sml:ExportToTextFile module that saves the contents of the doc variable (set in the module's sml:text property as the SPARQL expression ?doc) to a file called output.html. I also set sml:replace to true so that repeated execution of the script wouldn't append the output onto the result of previous runs.

After you run this script you'll have a web page called output.html that looks like the display shown in the phone browsers in last week's blog entry, and you can copy this file to any web server you want.

This script is very simple. As you bring other SPARQLMotion capabilities into it such as inferencing and reading from all the data formats that TopBraid understands, you can make it much more sophisticated. You can also configure the script to save a collection of multiple files, letting you publish large collections of data in pieces that are digestible for typical browsers. (Phone browsers in particular can get sluggish; my Android LG Ally is not a recent model, and the expanding and collapsing of information about each person on the display of this app is not as quick on the Ally as I'd like it to be.)

So, use your imagination to add new features to this SPARQLMotion script, and you can create dynamic or static web pages for phones or any other kinds of browsers, with all the power of TopBraid behind your application development.


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This is a blog by TopQuadrant, developers of the TopBraid Suite, created to support the pursuit of our ongoing mission - to explode strange semantic myths, to seek out new models that support a new generation of dynamic business applications, to boldly integrate data that no one has integrated before.