Wanted: Volunteers for .NET semantic web framework project

 LinqToRdf* is a full-featured LINQ** query provider for .NET written in C#. It provides developers with an intuitive way to make queries on semantic web databases. The project has been going for over a year and it’s starting to be noticed by semantic web early adopters and semantic web product vendors***. LINQ provides a standardised query language and a platform enabling any developer to understand systems using semantic web technologies via LinqToRdf. It will help those who don’t have the time to ascend the semantic web learning curve to become productive quickly.

The project’s progress and momentum needs to be sustained to help it become the standard API for semantic web development on the .NET platform. For that reason I’m appealing for volunteers to help with the development, testing, documentation and promotion of the project.

Please don’t be concerned that all the best parts of the project are done. Far from it! It’s more like the foundations are in place, and now the system can be used as a platform to add new features. There are many cool things that you could take on. Here are just a few:

Reverse engineering tool
This tool will use SPARQL to interrogate a remote store to get metadata to build an entity model.

Tutorials and Documentation
The documentation desperately needs the work of a skilled technical writer. I’ve worked hard to make LinqToRdf an easy tool to work with, but the semantic web is not a simple field. If it were, there’d be no need for LinqToRdf after all. This task will require an understanding of the LINQ, ASP.NET, C#, SPARQL, RDF, Turtle, and SemWeb.NET systems. It won’t be a walk in the park.


Supporting SQL Server
The SemWeb.NET API has recently added support to SQL Server, which has not been exploited inside LinqToRdf (although it may be easy to do).  This task would also involve thinking about robust scalable architectures for semantic web applications in the .NET space.


Porting LinqToRdf to Mono
LINQ and C# 3.0 support in Mono is now mature enough to make this a desirable prospect. Nobody’s had the courage yet to tackle it. Clearly, this would massively extend the reach of LinqToRdf, and it would be helped by the fact that some of the underlying components are developed for Mono by default.


SPARQL Update (SPARUL) Support
LinqToRdf provides round-tripping only for locally stored RDF. Support of SPARQL Update would allow data round-tripping on remote stores. This is not a fully ratified standard, but it’s only a matter of time.


Demonstrators using large scale web endpoints
There are now quite a few large scale systems on the web with SPARQL endpoints. It would be a good demonstration of LinqToRdf to be able to mine them for useful data.


These are just some of the things that need to be done on the project. I’ve been hoping to tackle them all for some time, but there’s just too much for one man to do alone. If you have some time free and you want to learn more about LINQ or the Semantic Web, there is not a better project on the web for you to join.  If you’re interested, reply to this letting me know how you could contribute, or what you want to tackle. Alternatively join the LinqToRdf discussion group and reply to this message there.




Andrew Matthews


* http://code.google.com/p/linqtordf

** http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/netframework/aa904594.aspx

*** http://virtuoso.openlinksw.com/Whitepapers/html/linqtordf/linqtordf1.htm


5 thoughts on “Wanted: Volunteers for .NET semantic web framework project

  1. I have not seen any comments here. I am not sure whether you got any responses. Are you still interested? I may be able to help in testing, documentation and other non-coding areas and may be able to find some developers to work on it part time as well.

  2. Hi Dorai,

    I did get some volunteers through other channels, but nothing actually has come of it so far…

    Any help would be very very much appreciated – I really struggle to make time these days so there is very little forward progress. If you or your contacts can contribute just a little time, I’d be more than happy to help coordinate and plan tasks.

    What sort of things were you interested in tackling?



  3. Andrew, please email me about this. I am very much interested in RDF, and I work mostly on .NET. To be honest, what I really want to do is write the tabulator in F# on Silverlight (there, I said it), but it’s taking me a while to get there since I don’t actually know any of these things and no two of them seem to work together… (OK, F# and RDF work fine together)

    I’ve been using semweb by Joshua Tauberer, but I’d certainly be interested in trying out Linq2rdf – it sounds like an interesting direction. If it runs under Silverlight then maybe we can do some cool large scale endpoints.

    Not much to see, but I started putting my F# work on http://code.google.com/p/dataviz

  4. Hi Andrew,
    I’d be extremely interested in helping with the following areas:
    * Tackling VS 2008 / .NET 3.5 compatibility issues (especially with the designer)
    * SPARQL interrogation -> entity model (reverse engineering)
    * Incorporating SQL support
    * Helping documentation/tutorial efforts as time allows

    I am actively working on a project that can use the great work done so far in LingToRdf – I want to help take this great work further, if I can be of assistance.

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