Summer 2014 update

Last summer, at DHOXSS, I took John Pybus and Kevin Page’s Linked Open Data course, and knew that I’d finally found the platform that would work for Visible Prices. However, a week-long course does not a semantic web programmer make. I was ready to tackle the ontological thinking (the relationships between different pieces of data) — but I didn’t have a sandbox to do it in.

The natural platform to use would be Apache Jena and Fuseki — they’re free and open-source, after all. However, I consistently ran into errors while trying to get them installed on my Mac, and all the how-to-guides and StackOverflow pages got me nowhere. I’m not surprised, because I am not a professional dev, and back-end server-side stuff isn’t my strong point, mainly due to lack of training.

After several frustrating sessions, I remembered that when I’d been looking around at different graph database platforms, I’d signed up for a beta account with Dydra, and went back to the site to explore. It turns out that it’s exactly what I’m looking for as a sandbox — they handle the system administration and maintenance, and I can simply start uploading triples and road-testing the structure. I can also download what I put in — I still own my data.

Dydra isn’t open-source, so it may not be a long-term solution — but I’ll deal with that when I’ve made more progress. For now, I’m utterly thrilled to have found a set-up that can allow me to move forward.


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