A new version of Flint, the free, feature-rich SPARQL editor, is now available

Our work to improve the experience of accessing semantic data through SPARQL has recently taken another step forwards with a major upgrade to Flint – our web-based open source SPARQL editor. 

Since we released Flint version 0.5 back in June 2011, the most requested feature was support for SPARQL1.1.  Flint version 1.0 now includes support for the current SPARQL 1.1 specification, making it a good choice for accessing triplestores, whether they use the 1.0 or 1.1 version of the SPARQL specification. 

Flint’s context-sensitive help provides great support to deal with the increased sophistication of SPARQL1.1 syntax. If you’ve got an update endpoint allowing requests to insert and delete triples, Flint 1.0 can now help there too, with a new separate mode for SPARQL1.1 update syntax.

Going beyond many existing web-based SPARQL query building tools, which lack abilities such as context-dependent autocomplete or syntax checking, Flint encompasses many of the features developers would expect of traditional Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and code parsers, through its web implementation.

As in previous versions, Flint 1.0 uses both the syntactic context (what’s expected at the cursor position) as well as what’s in the actual dataset, to provide relevant help. In addition to autocomplete on properties, the new version also provides autocomplete where a class is expected.

Building on the success of the original, the slide out panel contains keyword buttons to provide a simple means to enter keywords, and which are enabled / disabled according to the syntactic context. The live keyword buttons are now grouped by category (because SPARQL1.1 has so many) and there is also improved presentation of the query results. The properties and classes occurring in the dataset are also selectable within the panel with namespace prefixes for the dataset (these are configurable). There are also sample queries for the dataset (also configurable).

Flint SPARQL editorFlint user interface now provides query tabs so that developers can work with multiple queries in the same development session. 

Flint has been very positively received in the semantic community, and this has encouraged our development efforts.  As the commercial use of RDF technology grows, Flint is helping prepare a new generation of developers and underpinning real-world uses of SPARQL. It is already being used as part of third party websites and tools, as well as to teach SPARQL. 

As Flint is a javascript application that runs entirely in the browser, there’s no installation necessary to try it out.  You can run it straight from the web, straight from a download, or embed it in your own web pages – so give it a try at http://openuplabs.tso.co.uk/demos/sparqleditor!

Useful links:

■   Web-based Flint Demo - http://openuplabs.tso.co.uk/demos/sparqleditor

■   Open source code on Github - http://github.com/TSO-Openup/FlintSparqlEditor

■   Follow us on Twitter @FlintSparql

■   Google group - http://groups.google.com/group/flint-sparql-editor

■   Email: flintsparqleditor@tso.co.uk

November 5, 2012, 4:03 pm