0.5.0 • Public • Published

    JAvascript Suite for Sparql Access (Jassa)

    This repository contains several tools for JavaScript based Sparql access. It works both from the client side from the browser and server side with nodejs.

    The highlights of this repository are:

    • A high level JavaScript API for RDF. Provides core RDF classes (such as Node and Triple), SPARQL classes (such as Query, Element, Expr) and Service classes (such QueryExecutionFactoryHttp, QueryExecutionHttp). If you are familiar with Apache Jena, you have most likely seen these names before.
    • The Facete-API, a powerful faceted search API for generic faceted search on SPARQL endpoints. Under heavy development - TODO Add demo link.
    • The Sponate-API, a SPARQL-to-JSON mapper which is somewhat similar to Hibernate (Sponate = SParql, jsON, hiberNATE). This component unfolds its full potential in combination with latest generation frameworks that keep the DOM and controller logic separate, e.g. AngularJS. (Possibly also Ember.js, but at present we only develop using the former framework).


    You may have noticed that we repeatedly used the term '''class'''. While it is true that plain JavaScript does not offer them (yet), there are however frameworks which introduce this level of abstraction. For Jassa we chose the Class object of the prototype.js framework.

    Personal anecdote: Use of classes (and inheritance) at least doubled my JavaScript productivity - if you are working on a sufficiently complex project, never ever listen to the voices that tell you that design is overrated (and there are many in the JS community) - its everything! (TODO Most likely someone famous could be quoted here) ;)

    How to obtain

    • npm

        npm install jassa
    • bower

        Will come once bower does not silently exit with status code 1 ...
    • direct download

        to be done...


    Jassa depends on the following libraries:

    • jquery: Asynchronous requests are based on $.ajax
    • prototype: Only the Class object is needed from prototype.
    • underscore: Provides several utility functions for working with (associative) arrays.
    • underscore.string: Provides several utility function for working with strings.
    • xmlhttprequest: NodeJs only; i.e. not needed for browser based set up. This library emulates the browser's XMLHttpRequest object, and makes jQuery's $.ajax work from nodejs. Include it before jQuery.

    Browser-based Set Up

    Adjust paths and versions to your needs.

            <script src="resources/libs/jquery/1.9.1/jquery.js"></script> 
            <script src="resources/libs/underscore/1.4.4/underscore.js"></script> 
            <script src="resources/libs/underscore.string/2.3.0/underscore.string.js"></script> 
            <script src="resources/libs/prototype/1.7.1/prototype.js"></script> 
            <script src="resources/libs/jassa/0.5.0/jassa.js"></script> 
            <script type="text/javascript">
                // The Jassa object is now readily available
                // We hope that the name Jassa is sufficiently exotic to never cause a name clash
                // But who knows. I wished JavaScript had native namespace support...
            console.log("The Jassa object: ", Jassa);

    NodeJs-based Set Up

    Example of a nodejs based set up:

    var XMLHttpRequest = require("xmlhttprequest").XMLHttpRequest;
    = require('jquery');
    $.support.cors = true;
    $.ajaxSettings.xhr = function () {
        return new XMLHttpRequest;
    = require('underscore');
    _.str = require('underscore.string');
    var Jassa = require('jassa');

    Components and Usage

    The Jassa object defines the following modules

    The rdf and vocab modules

    The rdf module holds core RDF classes which are similar to those of Jena. The vocab module defines the following vocabularies (work in progress):

    • xsd
    • rdf
    • rdfs
    • owl
    • wgs84

    These two modules depend on each other (and thus cannot be used separately), because the vocabulary is expressed in terms of rdf classes, however literals require the xsd vocabulary.

    Example usage:

    var rdf = Jassa.rdf;
    var vocab = Jassa.vocab;
    var s = rdf.NodeFactory.createVar("s");
    var p = vocab.rdf.type;
    var o = rdf.NodeFactory.createUri("http://example.org/ontology/MyClass");
    var triple = new ns.Triple(s, p, o);
    console.log("Triple: " + triple);
    console.log("Subject is a variable: " + triple.getSubject().isVar());

    The sparql module

    The sparql module contains several classes for the syntactic representation of SPARQL queries. In addition to the Query class, there alse exist the Expr and Element class hierarchies known from Apache Jena.

    Example usage:

    var rdf = Jassa.rdf;
    var sparql = Jassa.sparql;
    var query = new sparql.Query();
    var s = rdf.NodeFactory.createVar("s");
    var p = rdf.NodeFactory.createVar("p");
    var o = rdf.NodeFactory.createVar("o");
    var triple = new rdf.Triple(s, p, o);
    query.setElement(new sparql.ElementTriplesBlock([triple]));
    console.log("QueryString: " + query);

    The service module

    The service module provides an abstraction layer for communicating with a SPARQL endpoint.

    var service = Jassa.rdf;
    var qef = new service.QueryExecutionFactoryHttp(
    var qe = qef.createQueryExecution("Select * { ?s ?p ?o } Limit 10");
    qe.setTimeout(5000); // timout in milliseconds
        .done(function(rs) {
            while(rs.hasNext()) {
                var binding = rs.nextBinding();
                console.log("Got binding: " + binding);
        .fail(function(err) {
            console.log("An error occurred: ", err);

    Successful execution of a SPARQL queries yields a ResultSet object, which is essentially an iterator over Binding objects. A binding is a map that associates variables with values (instances of rdf.Node) or null. Obviously, this API in principle frees you from the hassle of dealing with a concrete SPARQL result set format. Currently, the API is only implemented for SPARQL endpoints that yield Talis RDF JSON.


    Facete is library for faceted search based on concepts and constraints. Conceptually, a facete-concept is a pair comprised of SPARQL graph pattern and a variable that appears in it.

    Facete then allows one to retrieve a concept's properties and sub-properties under a (possibly empty) set of constraints.

    TODO Add demo, complete example below (service is missing)

    var service = Jassa.service;
    var facete = Jassa.facete;
    var constraintManager = new facete.ConstraintManager();
    var baseVar = rdf.NodeFactory.createVar("s");
    var baseConcept = facete.ConceptUtils.createSubjectConcept(baseVar);
    var rootFacetNode = facete.FacetNode.createRoot(baseVar);
    // Based on above objects, create a provider for the configuration
    // which the facet service can build upon
    var facetConfigProvider = new facete.FacetGeneratorConfigProviderIndirect(
        new facete.ConceptFactoryConst(baseConcept),
        new facete.FacetNodeFactoryConst(rootFacetNode),
    var fcgf = new facete.FacetConceptGeneratorFactoryImpl(facetConfigProvider);
    var facetConceptGenerator = fcgf.createFacetConceptGenerator();
    var expansionSet = new util.HashSet();
    expansionSet.add(new facete.Path());
    var facetService = new facete.FacetServiceImpl(qef, facetConceptGenerator);
    var facetTreeService = new facete.FacetTreeServiceImpl(facetService, expansionSet);
        .done(function(facetTree) {
            console.log("FacetTree: " + JSON.stringify(facetTree));
        .fail(function(err) {
            console.log("An error occurred: ", err);


    Sponate is a SPARQL-to-JSON mapper. TODO Add more description...

    var service = Jassa.service;
    var sponate = Jassa.sponate;
    var prefixes = {
        'dbpedia-owl': 'http://dbpedia.org/ontology/',
        'dbpedia': 'http://.org/resource/',
        'rdfs': 'http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#',
        'foaf': 'http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/'
    var qef = new service.QueryExecutionFactoryHttp('http://dbpedia.org/sparql', ['http://dbpedia.org']);
    var store = new sponate.StoreFacade(qef, prefixes);
        name: 'castles',
        template: [{
            id: '?s',
            name: '?l',
            depiction: '?d',
            owners: [{
                id: '?o',
                name: '?on'
        from: '?s a dbpedia-owl:Castle ; rdfs:label ?l ; '
             + 'foaf:depiction ?d ; dbpedia-owl:owner ?o .'
             + '?o rdfs:label ?on .'
             + 'Filter(langMatches(lang(?l), "en"))'
             + 'Filter(langMatches(lang(?on), "en"))'
    var criteria = {name: {$regex: filterText}};
    var flow = store.castles.find(criteria).limit(10).skip(10)
        .done(function(docs) {
            _(docs).each(function(doc) {
                console.log("JSON document: " + JSON.stringify(doc));
        .fail(function(err) {
            console.log("An error occurred: ", err);




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