Dries Buytaert

RDF in Drupal core code sprint

From May 11th to 14th, smart minds will be meeting in Galway, Ireland, to work on keeping Drupal a cutting edge technology. Drupal has a proud history of staying ahead of the curve in adopting or pioneering new technologies, and this has been a large contributing factor to Drupal's success. To stay ahead of the curve, continuous hard work is needed, and this is why the upcoming RDF in Core code sprint, sponsored by DERI, is so important.

What are the goals of this sprint? In a nutshell, the goal is to give true meaning to Drupal's data. Drupal is capable of collecting and presenting a lot of data, in no small part thanks to CCK, now Fields in Core for Drupal 7. This data is still meaningless in the Semantic Web sense because other computer agents can't make sense of the data that Drupal presents.

The goals proposed by the RDF in Core sprint would change this, and fields added to Drupal would contain semantic meaning useful to other tools (like next generation search engines). As I wrote earlier, existing search engines such as Google and Yahoo! SearchMonkey have already started to take advantage of RDF, and emerging tools such as Sindice and Visinav are currently crawling and indexing the Web of Data.

This Web of Data promises to be browsable just like a huge database, e.g. by means of query languages for RDF such as SPARQL (the name similarity with SQL is not a coincidence). Besides the first goal of getting RDF into Drupal Core, more flexible extensions such as RDFCCK are already on the way, to make your Drupal sites a part of the so-called Linked Data cloud.

I've written extensively about the importance of semantic technologies in Drupal before, and am therefore personally very excited for this sprint to happen. Many thanks to Stéphane Corlosquet for organizing this, and to DERI for hosting it. At the present time, a number of people who would like to attend are unable to due to shortages of funds. If you'd like to support this sprint financially, a ChipIn collection is underway to help bring a few more smart minds to the meeting so that they can best accomplish all of their goals.

— Dries Buytaert