Jstle is a terse javascript RDF serialization language
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Jstle (pronounced `jostle') is a terse, Javascript-native literal serialization language for RDF graphs. The semantic rules loosely follow those of the text-based Turtle RDF serialization language by Dave Beckett and Tim Berners-Lee.


Javascript is a powerful language for data manipulation, owing to a flexible object literal notation built into the language. However, standard Javascript RDF representations such as RDF JSON are relatively verbose, allowing only minimal levels of expressiveness and limited ability to avoid repetition. Languages such as Turtle are terse and easily written, but must be parsed as text and cannot be manipulated easily in their source representation. Jstle was born of a desire to have a Turtle-like language that was able to be programmatically processed directly using Javascript.


Given the following RDF graph expressed as a Turtle statement

:a :b :c ; :d :e , :f .

We can write the following JSON literal to represent the same graph in Jstle

[ ':a', [ ':b', ':c', ':d', [ ':e', ':f' ] ] ]

Jstle also supports blank nodes, denoted by inline object literals. Given the following Turtle using bracket blank node notation

:a :b :c ; :d :e , [ :f :g ] .

We arrive at the following Jstle representation

[ ':a', [ ':b', ':c', ':d', [ ':e', { ':f': ':g' } ] ] ]

Jstle is able to parse @prefix namespace directives similarly to Turtle as

	[ '@prefix', 'pfx', 'http://www.example.com/' ],
	[ 'pfx:a', [ 'pfx:b',   'pfx:c', 
				 'pfx:d', [ 'pfx:e', 
						  { 'pfx:f': { 'pfx:g': 'pfx:h' } } ] ] ]

The equivalent unabbreviated N-Triples representation of the above when parsed is

<http://www.example.com/a> <http://www.example.com/b> <http://www.example.com/c> .
<http://www.example.com/a> <http://www.example.com/d> <http://www.example.com/e> .
<http://www.example.com/a> <http://www.example.com/d> <undefined58> .
<undefined58> <http://www.example.com/f> <undefined815> .
<undefined815> "<http://www.example.com/g> <http://www.example.com/h> .

Which is represented by Jstle internally as the following equivalent Javascript array

	["<http://www.example.com/a>", "<http://www.example.com/b>", "<http://www.example.com/c>"], 
	["<http://www.example.com/a>", "<http://www.example.com/d>", "<http://www.example.com/e>"], 
	["<http://www.example.com/a>", "<http://www.example.com/d>", "<undefined58>"], 
	["<undefined58>", "<http://www.example.com/f>", "<undefined815>"], 
	["<undefined815>", "<http://www.example.com/g>", "<http://www.example.com/h>"]

For comparison, the equivalent RDF JSON looks something like this (note that Jstle notation doesn't support types yet, although of course you may assert the type using an RDF statement)

  "http://www.example.com/a": {
	"http://www.example.com/b": [
		"value": "http://www.example.com/c",
		"type": "uri"
	"http://www.example.com/d": [
		"value": "http://www.example.com/e",
		"type": "uri"
		"value": "undefined58",
		"type": "uri"
  "undefined58": {
	"http://www.example.com/f": [
		"value": "undefined815",
		"type": "uri"

And in RDF/XML

<rdf:RDF xmlns:pfx="http://www.example.com/">
	<rdf:Description rdf:about="http://www.example.com/a">
		<pfx:b rdf:resource="http://www.example.com/c"/>
		<pfx:d rdf:resource="http://www.example.com/e"/>
		<pfx:d rdf:resource="undefined58"/>
	<rdf:Description rdf:about="undefined58">
		<pfx:f rdf:resource="undefined815"/>


This software is a proof of concept. There are probably cases that it cannot handle, and should not be used in production.


  • No support for RDF collections notation
  • @base directive not supported
  • no datatype support
  • 'a' shorthand for RDF 'is-a' not supported


Jstle is provided under the MIT free software license. See the file LICENSE for the full text.