SPARQL: the video

Well, a video, but a lot of important SPARQL basics in a short period of time.

SPARQL in 11 minutes

While doing training for a TopQuadrant customer recently, the schedule led to my having ten minutes to explain the basics of writing SPARQL queries. I think I did OK, but on the plane home I thought harder about what to put in those ten minutes, which led to my making the video SPARQL in 11 minutes. While the video is 11 minutes and 14 seconds long, between the opening part about RDF and the plug for Learning SPARQL at the end, the SPARQL introduction is less than eight minutes.

After explaining what RDF triples are and how they’re represented in Turtle, the video walks through some simple SELECT queries and how they work with the data. This leads up to a CONSTRUCT query and a list of other things that people will find useful if they learn more about SPARQL. I had a lot of fun making the video’s SPARQL engine noise with my Korg Monotron synthesizer and also making more traditional music for the introduction and ending.

I hope this video is helpful for people who are new to SPARQL. The other SPARQL videos on YouTube are mostly real-time classroom lectures. My favorite is an ad for what seems like a Dutch cable TV provider that has nothing to do with the query language but has the excellent domain name If you skip ahead to 1:03 of this ad for the company, you’ll see a finger snap turn into a swirl of flames and then their shining “sparql” logo, all with the most dramatic music possible. My production values were not quite that high, but higher than most of the other SPARQL videos you’ll find on YouTube.

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