Sunday, April 15, 2007


One SPARQL feature that we need to implement is the OPTIONAL keyword. It seemed relatively easy to implement, and would work similarly to existing constraint operations.

While a constraint disjunction expands both sides out to contain the union of variables, it does nothing to join the results on both sides. This can leave any created variables unbound. A constraint conjunction does this join, but limits the results to those which have bound values. The optional operation needs to do both. In a sense, it reminds me of when I had to introduce the minus operation to provide a new kind of join operation that was previously impossible.

I'll probably try to introduce this operation shortly, but it won't be of much use until we can use it in a query language. Since SPARQL is still some way off (Inderbir is looking at the grammar parser for me right now) then I should probably introduce it as a language feature in TQL. I guess it would appear like an AND operator, right?

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