Xturtle: a nice addition to the semantic web programmer’s toolbox

22 Feb

I discovered Xturtle a few days ago: It is “an Eclipse / Xtext2 based editor for RDF/Turtle files”. Being one of the projects listed on the website of people who have built the very popular DBpedia, namely the Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web (AKSW) team, Xturtle is a nice edition to the semantic web programmer’s toolbox.

Even though programmers most of the time do not create or edit .ttl or .rdf files manually, but rather programmatically (using languages and frameworks such as SPARQL, Jena, or Sesame) there are times when you are in a position to edit such files, and having a tool that “understands” the semantics of the file, say, similar to Eclipse’s understanding of a Java file, comes in handy: why not have features such as code completion, navigation, hover info, code folding, etc., when you are editing semantic web files defined in Turtle format? In that respect, Xturtle seems to have taken the steps in the right direction.

Xturtle in Action

Xturtle in Action

The installation of the tool is very straightforward as described in its main project page. Its source code is also available at GitHub. Xturtle’s user’s manual is very concise but enough to get you started. One critical point cannot be stressed enough though: An important step still seems a little obscure, and that is the requirement of importing the ontologies (in Turtle format) you use in your files. In other words, do not forget to check out

After an initial hurdle, and a very quick, positive reaction from one of the core developers, I was able to use Xturtle with all of its features. Even though the project is a new one and might have some glitches, it is very much usable in its current form and I’m pretty much looking forward to its newer versions with enhanced capabilities. I think having high quality tools will help semantic web and its developers, and this, in turn, will empower the users.

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Programlama


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