Class::RDF - Perl extension for mapping objects to RDF and back


  use Class::RDF;

  # connect to an existing database
  Class::RDF->set_db( "dbi:mysql:rdf", "user", "pass" );

  # or use a temporary database

  # define xml namespace aliases, export some as perl namespaces.
      rdf => "",
      rdfs => "",
      foaf => "",
  Class::RDF::NS->export( 'rdf', 'rdfs', 'foaf' );

  # eat RDF from the world
  my @objects = Class::RDF->parse( xml => $some_rdf_xml );
  @objects = Class::RDF->parse( uri => $a_uri_pointing_to_some_rdf_xml );

  # build our own RDF objects
  my $obj = Class::RDF::Object->new( $new_uri );
  $obj->rdf::type( foaf->Person );
  $obj->foaf::name( "Larry Wall" );

  # search for RDF objects in the database
  my @people = Class::RDF::Object->search( rdf->type => foaf->Person );
  for my $person (@people) {
      print $person->foaf::OnlineAccount->foaf::nick, "\n";
      print $person->foaf::OnlineAccount->foaf::mbox;   

  # delete an object. This has the effect of deleting all triples which
  # have that object's uri as either subject or object.


  my $rdf_xml = Class::RDF->serialize( @people );


Class::RDF is a perl object layer over an RDF triplestore. It is based on Class::DBI, the perl object / RDBMS package. Thus it works with mysql, postgresql, sqlite etc. Look in the sql/ directory distributed with this module for database schemas.

It provides an 'rdf-y' shortcut syntax for addressing object properties. It also contains a triples-matching RDF API, which works like Class::DBI.

Version 0.20 contains *experimental* support for a memcached store to sit in between the triplestore and e.g. mod_perl. Please feel free to play with it but DONT use it in production code - it's partially broken.




        Class::RDF->set_db( "dbi:mysql:rdfdb", "user", "pass );

Specify the DBI connect string, username, and password of your RDF store. This method just wraps the set_db() method inherited from Class::DBI. If you want a simple temporary data store, use is_transient() instead.


        Class::RDF->is_transient( DIR => "/tmp" );

Specify a temporary data store for Class::RDF. Class::RDF uses File::Temp to create an SQLite data store in a temporary file that is removed when your program exits. Optional arguments to is_transient() are passed to File::Temp->new as is, potentially overriding Class::RDF's defaults. See File::Temp for more details.



Define an alias for an XML namespace. This needs to be done once per program, and is probably accompanied by a Class::RDF::NS->export('short_name').

This should be superseded by a loaded RDF model of namespaces and aliases which comes with the distribution and lives in the database.


        my @objects = Class::RDF->parse( xml => $some_xml );
        my @objects = Class::RDF->parse( uri => $uri_of_some_xml );

Parses the xml either passed in as a string or available at a URI, directly into the triplestore and returns the objects represented by the graph.


        my $xml = Class::RDF->serialise( @objects );

Take a number of Class::RDF::Object objects, and serialise them as RDF/XML.


Class::RDF::Object is the base class for RDF perl objects. It is designed to be subclassed:

        package Person; use base 'Class::RDF::Object';

Create a Class::RDF::Object derived object, then RDF predicate - object pairs can be set on it with a perlish syntax.

RDF resources - that is http:// , mailto: etc URIs, are automatically turned into Class::RDF::Objects when they are requested. To observe them as URIs they have to be referenced as $object->uri->value. RDF literals - ordinary strings - appear as regular properties.

        my $person = Person->new({foaf->mbox => '',
                                  foaf->nick => 'zool'});
        print $person->uri->value;
        print $person->foaf::nick;
        print $person->foaf::mbox->uri->value;


new ( [uri], [{ properties}], [context],[ baseuri] )

        my $obj = Class::RDF::Object->new({ rdf->type => foaf->Person, 
                                            foaf->nick => 'zool'});
        # creates a stored object with blank node uri

        my $obj = Class::RDF::Object->new($uri);
        # creates (or retrieves) a stored object with a uri

        my $obj = Class::RDF::Object->new($uri,$context_uri);
        # creates (or retrieves) a stored object with a uri with a context

search ( predicate => object )

        my @found = $object->search( rdf->type => foaf->Person );
        my $found = $object->search( foaf->mbox );

Search for objects with predicate - object matching pairs. Can also supply a predicate without a corresponding object.


        my $uri = $object->uri;
        print $uri->value;

Returns the uri of the object.


Class::RDF also provides the equivalent of a triples-matching API to the RDF store.

        my @statements = Class::RDF::Statement->search(subject => $uri);
        my @statements = Class::RDF::Statement->search(predicate => foaf->nick,
                                                       object => 'zool');
        my @statements = Class::RDF::Statement->search(context => $uri);

        my @triples = map {$_->triples} @statements;
        # three Class::RDF::Node objects


        my $node = Class::RDF::Node->new($uri); # create or retrieve
        my $exists = Class::RDF::Node->find($uri);


Class::RDF is attempting to be a 'literate project'. This means we're journalling code decisions and code changes publically, to start with. Aiming towards fuller use of literate programming principles. Thanks liberally Rocco Caputo for inspiration and conversation along these lines. see


  Class::DBI(3pm), RDF::Simple(3pm) - an RDF aggregator built on Class::RDF


The main outstanding is a metastatement level, so you can make statements about statements and use that to track versions, competing assertions, etc. Check the project journals for our progress on this.


Schuyler D. Erle <>

jo walsh <>


Copyright (C) 2004 by Schuyler Erle & Jo Walsh

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself, either Perl version 5.8.3 or, at your option, any later version of Perl 5 you may have available.