2010-07-05

RDF (almost) is the next generation of relational databases

I love RDF and SPARQL, especially their elegance and simplicity. They surely deserve a lot more attention and not just as a formalism for ontologies and semantics, but also as a next step for relational databases. Especially with the “No SQL” movement becoming popular, RDF could be an alternative that builds on the achievements of the relational database community instead of shunning them. Note that the No SQL implementation Couch DB offers JavaScript-centricity and is a little bit simpler than RDF, so one might prefer it for some scenarios. On the other hand, RDF is not much more complicated and offers other features (composable data, standardized symbols, a general-purpose query language, etc.) that Couch DB cannot match. Alas, some of the basics are still complicated in RDF, such listing properties in a table. My paper “Using RDF for social information management” has more on this topic.

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