[rdfweb-dev] parser pragmatics: Redland 4 win, Raptor in PHP?

Dan Brickley danbri at w3.org
Sat Jul 17 09:53:36 UTC 2004

+cc: Garland Foster (email address found on xml-dev; hopefully the same
Garland that made http://www.zend.com/zend/week/week89.php#Heading3) and 
also Davey Shafik. Garland, Davey, this is a thread on the FOAF list,
about getting C-based parsers into mainstream development environments
(windows, PHP). I'd welcome your thoughts if you've got a minute...
Prev thread: http://rdfweb.org/pipermail/rdfweb-dev/2004-July/013495.html

* Julian Bond <julian_bond at voidstar.com> [2004-07-17 08:09+0100]

> I still think it would be a great service to RDF if someone could 
> produce MS Win Redland binaries. It's nearly another year since this.
> http://lists.usefulinc.com/pipermail/redland-dev/2003-August/000387.html


I can't offer much more than t-shirts[1] and beer as a bribe, but whoever
can help Dave get set up with regular MS Win builds of Redland certainly
deserves both. I'd like to hear Dave's view on what's needed and how to
progress this.

I managed to make a pseudo-standalone commandline Raptor a couple years
back by building on Cygwin and packaging the two Cygwin DLLs it needed
alongside (http://homer.w3.org/~danbri/redland/tmp/rdf2nt/). But that's
not an ideal approach. Redland builds a lot more smoothly on Windows
now, so we're probably just looking for some kind someone to do the
chore of building the darn thing and packaging up bundles. But then 
there are the scripting interfaces etc., ... Talking of which... 

> Actually an even greater service to RDF would be to get an RDF parser 
> baked into the PHP distributions the way that expat and libxml have 
> been.

+1 too

So let's investigate that. Anybody here know folks closely involved in
the PHP project? I think we having enough sample code (to explain what
RDF "looks like" to a PHP app), benchmarks, motivating data (RSS1 + FOAF
+ CreativeCommons, plus DC etc...). The question I guess is how open to
such possibilities they are, and how expensive it is for them to add
another chunk of code to the distribution.

Hmm. I wish I could have made it up to http://www.pawscon.com/about_paws
oh! http://www.pawscon.com/ "PaWS Manchester has been re-scheduled". I
hadn't realised that. 
The tentative new date for the conference is now late
September/early October 2004. We are also planning to change the
location to London, but these provisional details are still to be
confirmed in the months ahead. 	

So I'm copying Davey. Davey, any more info on this, or thoughts about 
possibilities for getting a C-based RDF parser (presumably Raptor) into
the PHP distribution. 

I don't really know the PHP scene, beyond some dabblings with WordPress
recently. Googling around it seems Andy Gutmans and Zeev Suraski via 
www.zend.com are amongst the folks to talk to. 
Searching the forum at http://www.zend.com/phorum/list.php?num=6
suggests they've not been overburdened with demands for RDF and FOAF
support just yet. http://www.zend.com/store/products/zend-engine.php
suggests that the "Zend Engine" is the thing to target. 
http://www.zend.com/php5/articles/engine2-php-oo.php is a recent "What's
new" piece. I've not yet found anything that looks like a roadmap or
guidelines that set expectations for what might be added to the core. 

Googling around a bit more, Garland Foster did some work on wrapping the
older Repat parser, and there was a bit of php-dev discussion on that. 

http://blog.bitflux.ch/p632.html points to the discussion of whether or
not to bundle libxml2; I've not followed the debate through yet. There
was, apparently, controversy. So I imagine there'd be same again with a
'bundle RDF' proposal. There may be different styles of bundling though,
or PHP-based distribs like Drupal that could be targetted instead. If
someone more PHP-savvy could lay out the options here I'd be very

There are a bunch more links I could chuck in here
http://www.semanticweb.gr/rdftp/) ...all of which add up to show that 
RDF in PHP has been well explored, that speed has proved an issue, and
that the basic shape of a solution (expose Redland or at least Raptor within 
PHP) is likely to get consensus from the folks who've explored this

So where to go with this? Suggestions welcomed.



[1] http://zine.niij.org/photos/general/IM000324.jpg/photo_view
http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe/images/tshirt.gif for evidence that
these t-shirt bribes actually exist now. There might be a handful of foafnaut
ones around here somewhere too... [rummages...]

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