Tag Archive for 'data'

Open Semantic Framework 3.3 Released

Structured Dynamics is happy to announce the immediate availability of the Open Semantic Framework version 3.3. This new release of OSF lets system administrators choose between two different communication channels to send SPARQL queries to the triple store: triple_120
  1. HTTP
  2. ODBC

In OSF 3.1, the only communication channel available was a ODBC channel using the iODBC drivers. In OSF 3.2, the only communication channel available was a HTTP channel. What we did with OSF 3.3 is to let the system administrator choose between the two.

Quick Introduction to the Open Semantic Framework

What is the Open Semantic Framework?

The Open Semantic Framework (OSF) is an integrated software stack using semantic technologies for knowledge management. It has a layered architecture that combines existing open source software with additional open source components. OSF is designed as an integrated content platform accessible via the Web, which provides needed knowledge management capabilities to enterprises. OSF is made available under the Apache 2 license.

OSF can integrate and manage all types of content â€" unstructured documents, semi-structured files, spreadsheets, and structured databases â€" using a variety of best-of-breed data indexing and management engines. All external content is converted to the canonical RDF data model, enabling common tools and methods for tagging and managing all content. Ontologies provide the schema and common vocabularies for integrating across diverse datasets. These capabilities can be layered over existing information assets for unprecedented levels of integration and connectivity. All information within OSF may be powerfully searched and faceted, with results datasets available for export in a variety of formats and as linked data.

Why Multiple Channels in OSF?

Historically, OSF only used the ODBC channel to communicate with Virtuoso, and it was using the iODBC drivers. As explained in a previous blog post, the fact that we were using the iODBC drivers in Ubuntu was adding a lot of complexity into the system since we had to recompile most of the PHP packages to use that other ODBC driver.

With OSF 3.2, we refactored the code such that we could query any SPARQL HTTP endpoint. The goal of this current improvement is to be able to use any triple store that has a compatible SPARQL HTTP endpoint with OSF, and not just Virtuoso.

With OSF 3.3, what we choose to do is to make both options a possibility. However, what we did is to make sure that the latest version of Virtuoso was now properly working with the unixODBC drivers, which are shipped by default with Ubuntu.

This means that people can now use the ODBC channel, but using the unixODBC drivers instead. The end result of this enhancement is that it makes the maintenance of a Ubuntu/OSF instance much easier since no packages are on hold, and that the PHP5 packages can be updated at any time without needing to be recompiled using the iODBC drivers.

Deploying a New OSF 3.3 Server

Using the OSF Installer

OSF 3.3 can easily be deployed on a Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server using the osf-installer application. The deployment is done by executing the following commands in your terminal:

mkdir -p /usr/share/osf-installer/

cd /usr/share/osf-installer/

wget https://raw.github.com/structureddynamics/Open-Semantic-Framework-Installer/3.3/install.sh

chmod 755 install.sh

./install.sh

./osf-installer --install-osf -v

Using an Amazon AMI

If you are an Amazon AWS user, you also have access to a free AMI that you can use to create your own OSF instance. The full documentation for using the OSF AMI is available here.

Upgrading Existing Installations

It is not possible to automatically upgrade previous versions of OSF to OSF 3.3. It is possible to upgrade an older instance of OSF to OSF version 3.3, but only manually. If you have this requirement, just let me know and I will write about the upgrade steps that are required to upgrade these instances to OSF version 3.3.

Conclusion

This new version of the Open Semantic Framework should be even simpler to install, deploy and maintain. Several additional small updates have also provided in this new version to other aspects of installation simpler and faster.

Open Semantic Framework 3.2 Released

Structured Dynamics is happy to announce the immediate availability of the Open Semantic Framework version 3.2. This is the second important OSF release in a month and a half. triple_120

This new major release of OSF changes the way the web services communicate with the triple store. Originally, OSF web services were using a ODBC channel to communicate with the triple store (Virtuoso). This new release uses the SPARQL HTTP endpoints of the triple store to send queries to it. This is the only changes that occurs in this new version, but as you will see bellow, this is a major one.

Why switching to HTTP?

The problem with using ODBC as the primary communication channel between the OSF web services and the triple store is that it was adding a lot of complexity into OSF. Because the UnixODBC drivers that are shipped with Ubuntu had issues with Virtuoso, we had to use the iODBC drivers to make sure that everything was working properly. This situation forced us to recompile PHP5 such that it uses iODBC instead of UnixODBC as the ODBC drivers for PHP5.

This was greatly complexifying the deployment of OSF since we couldn’t use the default PHP5 packages that shipped with Ubuntu, but had to maintain our own ones that were working with iODBC.

The side effect of this is that system administrators couldn’t upgrade their Ubuntu instances normally since PHP5 needed to be upgraded using particular packages created for that purpose.

Now that OSF doesn’t use ODBC to communicate with the triple store, all this complexity goes away since no special handling is now required. All of the default Ubuntu packages can be used like system administrators normally do.

With this new version, the installation and deployment of a OSF instance has been greatly simplified.

Supports New Triple Stores

Another problem with using ODBC is that it was limiting the number of different triple stores that could be used for operating OSF. In fact, people could only use Virtuoso with their OSF instance.

This new release opens new opportunities. OSF still ships with Virtuoso Open Source as its default triple store, however any triple store that has the following characteristics could replace Virtuoso in OSF:

  1. It has a SPARQL HTTP endpoint
  2. It supports SPARQL 1.1 and SPARQL Update 1.1
  3. It supports SPARQL Update queries that can be sent to the SPARQL HTTP endpoint
  4. It supports the SPARQL 1.1 Query Results JSON Format
  5. It supports the SPARQL 1.1 Graph Store HTTP Protocol via a HTTP endpoint (optional, only required by the Datasets Management Tool)

Deploying a new OSF 3.2 Server

Using the OSF Installer

OSF 3.2 can easily be deployed on a Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server using the osf-installer application. It can easily be done by executing the following commands in your terminal:

mkdir -p /usr/share/osf-installer/

cd /usr/share/osf-installer/

wget https://raw.github.com/structureddynamics/Open-Semantic-Framework-Installer/3.2/install.sh

chmod 755 install.sh

./install.sh

./osf-installer --install-osf -v

Using a Amazon AMI

If you are an Amazon AWS user, you also have access to a free AMI that you can use to create your own OSF instance. The full documentation for using the OSF AMI is available here.

Upgrading Existing Installations

It is not possible to automatically upgrade previous versions of OSF to OSF 3.2. It is possible to upgrade a older instance of OSF to OSF version 3.2, but only manually. If you have this requirement, just let me know and I will write about the upgrade steps that are required to upgrade these instances to OSF version 3.2.

Security

Now that the triple store’s SPARQL HTTP endpoint requires it to be enabled with SPARQL Update rights, it is more important than ever to make sure that the SPARQL HTTP endpoint of the triple store is only available to the OSF web services.

This can be done by properly configuring your firewall or proxy such that only local traffic, or traffic coming from the OSF web service processes, can reach the endpoint.

The SPARQL endpoint that should be exposed to the outside World is OSF’s SPARQL endpoint, which adds an authentication layer above the triple store’s endpoint, and restricts potentially armful SPARQL queries.

Conclusion

This new version of the Open Semantic Framework greatly simplifies its deployment and its maintenance. It also enables other triple stores that exist on the market to be used for OSF instead of Virtuoso Open Source.

Open Semantic Framework 3.1 Released

Structured Dynamics is happy to announce the immediate availability of the Open Semantic Framework version 3.1. This new version includes a set of fixes to different components of the framework in the last few months. The biggest change is deployment of OSF using Virtuoso Open Source version 7.1.0. triple_120

We also created a new API for Clojure developers called: clj-osf. Finally we created a new Open Semantic Framework web portal that better describes the project and is hopefully easier to use and more modern.

Quick Introduction to the Open Semantic Framework

What is the Open Semantic Framework?

The Open Semantic Framework (OSF) is an integrated software stack using semantic technologies for knowledge management. It has a layered architecture that combines existing open source software with additional open source components. OSF is designed as an integrated content platform accessible via the Web, which provides needed knowledge management capabilities to enterprises. OSF is made available under the Apache 2 license.

OSF can integrate and manage all types of content – unstructured documents, semi-structured files, spreadsheets, and structured databases – using a variety of best-of-breed data indexing and management engines. All external content is converted to the canonical RDF data model, enabling common tools and methods for tagging and managing all content. Ontologies provide the schema and common vocabularies for integrating across diverse datasets. These capabilities can be layered over existing information assets for unprecedented levels of integration and connectivity. All information within OSF may be powerfully searched and faceted, with results datasets available for export in a variety of formats and as linked data.

A new Open Semantic Framework website

The OSF 3.1 release also triggered the creation of a new website for the project. We wanted something leaner and more modern and that is what I think we delivered. We also reworked the content, we wrote about a series of usecases 1 2 3 4 5 6 and we better aggregated and presented information for each web service endpoint.

A new OSF sandbox

We also created an OSF sandbox where people can test each web service endpoint and test how each functionality works. All of the web services are open to users. The sandbox is not meant to be stable considering that everybody have access to all endpoints. However, the sandbox server will be recreated on a periodic basis. If the sandbox is totally broken and users experiment issues, they can always request a re-creation of the server directly on the OSF mailing list.

Each of the web service pages on the new OSF portal has a Sandbox section where you see some code examples of how to use the endpoint and how to send requests to the sandbox. Here are the instructions to use the sandbox server.

A new OSF API for Clojure: clj-osf

The OSF release 3.1 also includes a new API for Clojure developers: clj-osf.

clj-osf is a Domain Specific Language (DSL) that should lower the threshold to use the Open Semantic Framework.

To use the DSL, you only have to configure your application to use a specific OSF endpoint. Here is an example of how to do this for the Sandbox server:

;; Define the OSF Sandbox credentials (or your own):
(require '[clj-osf.core :as osf])

(osf/defosf osf-test-endpoint {:protocol :http
                               :domain "sandbox.opensemanticframework.org"
                               :api-key "EDC33DA4D977CFDF7B90545565E07324"
                               :app-id "administer"})

(osf/defuser osf-test-user {:uri "http://sandbox.opensemanticframework.org/wsf/users/admin"})

Then you can send simple OSF web service queries. Here is an example that sends a search query to return records of type foaf:Person that also match the keyword “bob”:

(require '[clj-osf.search :as search])

(search/search
 (search/query "bob")
 (search/type-filters ["http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/Person"]))

A complete set of clj-osf examples is available on the OSF wiki.

Finally the complete clj-osf DSL documentation is available here.

A community effort

This new release of the OSF Installer is another effort of the growing Open Semantic Framework community. The upgrade of the installer to deploy the OSF stack using Virtuoso Open Source version 7.1.0 has been created by William (Bill) Anderson.

Deploying a new OSF 3.1 Server

Using the OSF Installer

OSF 3.1 can easily be deployed on a Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server using the osf-installer application. It can easily be done by executing the following commands in your terminal:

mkdir -p /usr/share/osf-installer/

cd /usr/share/osf-installer/

wget https://raw.github.com/structureddynamics/Open-Semantic-Framework-Installer/3.1/install.sh

chmod 755 install.sh

./install.sh

./osf-installer --install-osf -v

Using a Amazon AMI

If you are an Amazon AWS user, you also have access to a free AMI that you can use to create your own OSF instance. The full documentation for using the OSF AMI is available here.

Upgrading Existing Installations

Existing OSF installations can be upgraded using the OSF Installer. However, note that the upgrade won’t deploy Virtuoso Open Source 7.1.0 for you. All the code will be upgraded, but Virtuoso will remain the version you were last using on your instance. All the code of OSF 3.1 is compatible with previous versions of Virtuoso, but you won’t benefit the latest improvements to Virtuoso (in terms of performances) and its latest SPARQL 1.1 implementations. If you want to upgrade Virtuoso to version 7.1.0 on an existing OSF instance you will have to do this by hands.

To upgrade the OSF codebase, the first thing is to upgrade the installer itself:

# Upgrade the OSF Installer
./usr/share/osf-installer/upgrade.sh

Then you can upgrade the components using the following commands:

# Upgrade the OSF Web Services
./usr/share/osf-installer/osf --upgrade-osf-web-services="3.1.0"

# Upgrade the OSF WS PHP API
./usr/share/osf-installer/osf --upgrade-osf-ws-php-api="3.1.0"

# Upgrade the OSF Tests Suites
./usr/share/osf-installer/osf --upgrade-osf-tests-suites="3.1.0"

# Upgrade the Datasets Management Tool
./usr/share/osf-installer/osf --upgrade-osf-datasets-management-tool="3.1.0"

# Upgrade the Data Validator Tool
./usr/share/osf-installer/osf --upgrade-osf-data-validator-tool="3.1.0"



This blog is a regularly updated collection of my thoughts, tips, tricks and ideas about data mining, data integration, data publishing, the semantic Web, my researches and other related software development.


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