Understanding the Semantic Web: N3 to the rescue 2005-03-20

I've spent most of today reading up on RDF, OWL and other painful stuff. Things were going really slowly (what f******d decided using set theory to describe the RDF semantics was a good idea, when it could have been so "simple" if they'd instead just explained things in terms of what triples could be inferred) until I came across N3.

I briefly mentioned Metalog earlier, and that was a great start - allowing me to play around with "human readable" assertions. But N3 is a step closer to the "real thing", and in fact Ntriples, a reduced form of N3 can be generated by Metalog.

N3 is part of a Semantic Web Application Platform (or Playground) set up to facilitate practical demonstrations of semantic web technology. So far it's succeeded for me - it's told me far more about the Semantic Web than any of the specifications.

The N3 grammar seems clumsy and badly documented, but there is a great tutorial covering N3 and how to apply it to the Semantic Web.

If you feel brave, you might also want to take a look at Euler - a Java app to verify conclusions by inferring proofs for them. The Java code for Euler is some of the nastiest stuff I've seen (1700 lines in one class and pages upon pages in a single function) but it seems like something worth investigating further once I've digested more of the N3 stuff.

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