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Making RDF easy enough for average developers
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This repository is for experimental/exploratory work on making RDF easier to use, with the goal of making it easy enough for average developers (middle 33% of ability). By "RDF" we mean the whole RDF ecosystem -- including SPARQL, OWL, tools, standards, educational materials, etc. -- everything that a developer touches when using RDF. Our plan:

  • focus and coordinate community efforts;
  • build on existing standards whenever possible;
  • launch additional W3C Community Groups to tackle specific areas of need, including
  • contribute to (and benefit from) related efforts, such as the W3C Graph Data Workshop in March 2019, which prepare the path for launching new standards work at W3C.


The value of RDF for graph data has been well proven, in many applications, over the 20+ years since it was first created. However, difficulty of use has caused RDF to be categorized as a niche technology. This is unfortunate because it limits uptake and prevents RDF from being viewed as a viable choice for many use cases that would otherwise be an excellent fit.

This work seeks to build upon our experience with RDF to examine how we can make it easier to use. What aspects or gaps have caused difficulty? How can RDF better support features that users commonly need and other graph databases offer? How can we make RDF -- or a successor -- easy enough for average developers?

At the same time, businesses are now showing a rapidly growing interest in graph data. Businesses have used relational databases for many years, but it is costly to adapt database schema and applications in response to evolving application needs. Other graph and NoSQL databases have emerged to help meet this need. Unfortunately, there is a lack of interoperability across existing graph data solutions, motivating interest in open standards for an interchange framework. RDF is an appealing vendor neutral framework for graph data, and is well positioned to take on the role of an interchange framework. Although this interest in RDF as a graph interchange framework arose independently from the effort to make RDF easier, and has different goals, there is a natural overlap in motivation, and both efforts can benefit each other.

Guiding principles

1. The goal is to make RDF -- or some RDF-based successor -- easy enough for average developers (middle 33%), who are new to RDF, to be consistently successful.

2. Solutions may involve anything in the RDF ecosystem: standards, tools, guidance, etc. All options are on the table.

3. Backward compatibility is highly desirable, but less important than ease of use.

How to contribute?

We welcome contributions. A good place to start is to review the issues list, categorized below. Please feel free to start a new issue if none of the existing ones are a good match. You can also send comments to the mailing list:

Intellectual property rights

This work is being performed under the W3C rdf-dev Community Group and is subject to the W3C Community Contributor License Agreement (CLA).

Issue topics

Issues and ideas are recorded in our issues list and divided into the categories below using issue labels. The lists below are not auto-populated, so click on the category name below to see the latest list.

Category: big ideas: For major ideas that span multiple issue categories

Category: tools: For RDF tools

Category: education: For documentation and education

Category: usage: For issues around RDF usage in practice

Category: language features: For language features of RDF itself -- model and syntax

Category: related standards: For RDF-related standards

Category: easier profile: For candidate features of an easier profile of RDF


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