Wednesday, March 31, 2010

UISPIN: Creating HTML and SVG Documents with SPARQL

UISPIN is a new framework that can be used to link RDF resources with user interface descriptions that can be rendered as HTML or Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) pages. Based on SPIN, UISPIN makes it easy to embed SPARQL expressions into XML snippets, so that the content of those snippets can be dynamically assembled into complete XHTML documents and SVG graphics. Here is an example of a typical UISPIN snippet (for rendering SKOS concepts):

The UISPIN snippet above would be rendered in HTML as follows:

UISPIN is comparable to template languages such as JSP and PHP, but is natively optimized for the Semantic Web and Linked Data. Among others, UISPIN makes it possible to define new XML tags that encapsulate reusable (HTML/SVG) building blocks, and to share those building blocks on the Web in RDF.

TopBraid Composer ME 3.3.0 is the first tool that provides comprehensive support for editing, debugging and browsing UISPIN documents. UISPIN itself and its implementation are still in beta stage, and we publish it to encourage early adopters to play with this new technology and provide feedback. We will move quickly to bring UISPIN to a stable state in the coming months.

There is already a large body of documentation and examples online, and I will report about more case studies and examples on this blog in the coming weeks. To get an overview, I recommend walking through the mini tutorial on This will give you a good idea of the basic concepts and might even be sufficient to get you started. For details and the official specification, please check