As you’ll see, the great thing about this method is that it only takes a couple of PHP files and an
.htaccess file on a server. Assuming that you’ve got a web server that supports PHP, it’s an approach you can use without installing anything. The code I’ve written is pretty generic and should be widely applicable; feel free to reuse and adapt it.
I was at OpenTech a couple of weekends ago, and heard a lot of great talks. I particularly enjoyed the one by Simon Willison in which he talked about the Guardian Data Blog. Essentially, the data collected by the journalists at the Guardian, that form the basis of their pretty visualisations and so forth, gets published in Google Spreadsheets.
Now Google Spreadsheets are just fine – they’re easy for end-users to use and it’s not hard for data nerds to extract data from them. They have real advantages for publishing because they are quick and easy to set up.
But take a look through the page listing the tables of data and you can see that many of them are about the same areas. The Guardian Data Blog have actually created a new spreadsheet that pulls together that information. Even with the aggregated data, in Google Spreadsheets there’s no way to address the data held in each table about Sutton (say).
Now, a few months ago, Talis announced the Talis Connected Commons, which enables anyone to publish public domain data using the Talis Platform for free. It turns out that it’s really easy to publish addressable data using the Talis Platform as a host.
There’s a big push within the UK government right now, helped along by the appointment of Tim Berners-Lee, to publish their data using Linked Data principles.
One of the challenges is how to publish Linked Data in a world that sometimes, even frequently, changes. Cool URIs don’t change, but departmental domain names do, as departments are split and merged and rebranded. So the URIs that are minted for things like schools and roads need to be detached from the departments that have responsibility for them, neutralised into general domains such as
But that’s the least of the problems. Because schools and roads themselves don’t remain static either. They are split and merged and rebranded. They are resources that change over time. What should their URIs look like?
Registration has just opened for this year’s XML Summer School, held in Oxford on 20-25th September. I’m teaching a couple of sessions and helping with a workshop on the “XSLT, XSL-FO and XQuery” track along with Bob DuCharme, Michael Kay and Priscilla Walmsley. It’s one of my favourite events, for three reasons:
- I get to listen to experts talk about particular technologies in depth. The sessions are particularly good because they’re provided by people who don’t just spend all their time training, but actually practice what they’re talking about, and therefore positively relish the kinds of discussions that normal trainers might shy away from.
- I get to meet a whole bunch of people who are using XML in different areas: publishing, healthcare, government, you name it. In that way it’s like a conference: many of the most useful conversations happen during the breaks or at the bar.
- I get to go punting, visit Oxford’s best pubs and dress up for a formal dinner – more social engagements in a single week than I usually have in a year!
I know a lot of beginners go to the XML Summer School for the introduction course, but to me the real value is for people who are actually using XML on a day to day basis and want to keep on top of the latest tools and technologies that will actually help them do their jobs. I learn something new every year.
Anyway, I wanted to blog about it because there’s a discount on registration up until 30th June. Grab ‘em while you can!
If you’re anywhere near Oxford on the weekend of the 11-12th July, and are interested in parsing, querying and manipulating RDF(a) in a browser, come along to the rdfQuery Dazzle (hack days). The official page lists some of the things we might work on:
- Applications: widgets, adding to existing RDFa sites
- Core development: documentation, packaging, microformats, named graphs, and ontologies
- Interfaces: Talis change markup, N3 and Turtle, and SPARQL
It’s free to attend, you can come for either or both days, and refreshments, entertainment and wifi will be provided, so register now!