The day may come when you might not need a team of developers to write data-driven or data-aware apps that themselves can be described in just a few words. Ideally, that would mean companies would spend a lot less money on, and speed up, a long-winded process that encompasses everything from understanding requirements to discovering data sources and normalizing results, to managing data coordination across front-end and back-end teams.
That day isn’t here yet, but SemantiNet is trying to move things a step closer to that point. The company this month has introduced an open-ended alpha API that has as its centerpiece the idea of the data flow graph.
Its purpose is to enable easy querying of a collection of Web Services, Wikipedia, Linked Data and the unstructured web, and culminating in “one-liner” search bar apps, including mashups, built in minutes. Some examples: drawing out from dbPedia objects within a 50-kilometer radius of the Eiffel Tower that are somehow related to Napoleon and displaying the results as video; breaking down the revenue of the world’s major car companies listed in Wikipedia and providing a pie chart with that data and also mashing into the results the age of the companies in a table, its locations pinpointed on a map, and company snapshots called out in a graph; or finding out which pizza places close to your current location have some lunch deals on. For good measure, throw in some tweets and analyze them for sentiment, just to make sure that we’re talking about tasty pizza.
Or check out some of the output at left for the Keith Richards Guitar Gallery app, built on combining the unique DBpedia URI for Keith Richards; a fuzzy matching of the free-form text “instrument” with a predicate of dbpedia:Keith_Richards to get a list of the instruments he played; and a rendering of this list of instruments using a SemantiNet template called videolist.html.