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New horizons, new blog

A fundamental change is happening to my professional career and personal life. I'm starting a new adventure at Sydney, Australia. For the sake of all my Spanish acquaintances, I've opened a new Spanish-only blog, http://alotroladodelpajares.blogspot.com.es. I may continue posting in English to this blog, so stay tuned here.

RDFa Developer and Trioo

I've served as director of two Master Degree Thesis that have been successfully presented this week. On Monday, Javier graduated with a remarkable project, named RDFa Developer. We're very proud of this tool, which provides easy means for exploring the RDFa annotations encoded in webpages. If you're a web developer and you still don't know RDFa, you should take a look at this technology, which is being adopted by all major players in the web scene. Javier's contribution is a leap forward in RDFa tooling, it may become one of your favorite Firefox extensions. Congratulations, Javi!

This morning, my long-time collaborator Sergio presented Trioo, an interesting exploration on the convergence between object-oriented programming and the web of data. Although this is clearly just a first step in a long path, some proof-of-concept implementations are already available. This piece of research has the potential to commoditize the development of software in the web of linked data. Excellent job, Sergio!


I know I haven't been a very active blogger in the last few months. I'd love to have time to fill the cyberspace with garbage bits, but I'm afraid I live in a perennial busy state. However, I owe Nacho a post to honor the tradition of greeting my students when they complete their studies. Today, he successfully presented his work, titled Steamy. He has done an outstanding piece of work which will surely attract some attention from the free software and the linked data communities. Great job, Nacho!


The XSPARQL member submission has been acknowledged by W3C. XSPARQL is a new language that results from the merge of XQuery and SPARQL, and it provides a solution to transform data between RDF and XML.

I discovered XSPARQL while I was working on a related idea that I called XSLT+SPARQL as part of my PhD research. I was immediately captivated XSPARQL because it shares the same aims as XSLT+SPARQL, but it is a much more clever idea. While I was trying to integrate SPARQL in XSLT, Axel Polleres and the rest of the XSPARQL team found a much more elegant approach using XQuery. I humbly confess that it never occurred to me to replace XSLT with XQuery, probably because I'm experienced with the former, but I have little knowledge about the latter. When compared to XSPARQL, my XSLT+SPARQL looks as a ugly hack (well, I never said otherwise). Both approaches were presented during the ESWC2008 at Tenerife. XSPARQL was picked as one of the best papers of the conference, while mine was silently presented in a co-located workshop. I think it's just fair.

When I knew of their intention to make a submission to W3C, I offered my collaboration to the XSPARQL crew. My modest contribution were a couple of novel use cases.


This morning, my colleague Iván Mínguez graduated on Web Engineering after the successful presentation of his research project, TeRRAS. Congratulations, Iván!

This is my fifth service as project advisor (see my blog entries on the previous projects: 1, 2, 3 and 4). I'm very lucky that all the students who have kindly asked me for advise are very talented and dutiful. Their excellent work has always been fairly rewarded by the reviewers. Consequently, it has always been a pleasure and an honour to work with them.

Puertos de Agüeria

Today I went to the mountains to pay a visit to Puertos de Agüeria, a renowned excursion which I had already attempted. It was three years ago, and I failed because the path was blocked by the meltwater. Today I was luckier, and I enjoyed this magical place. I also experimented with my GPS antenna and Nokia Sports Tracker. This is a very nice piece of software, although my first contact with it -a year ago- was disappointing. However, recent updates have fixed some of the issues (it's still a beta, anyway), and the result is much better. I recorded my activity, and uploaded it to the web (note: I didn't recorded the return trip, so the data only reflects half of the walking). The data is really nice, but it becomes amazing when you open it in Google Earth!

Master-ing semantic web applications

For the third year in a row, I was invited to talk on semantic web applications at the Master on Web Engineering. As I was updating the slides from the previous year, I reassured myself that we are finally witnessing the success of the semantic web, and that the future ahead will be full of exciting developments.

Segovia and Ávila

Although I've travelled a lot in the last few years, most of those trips have been for business, with little or none chance to visit the places. However, last weekend I finally did a pleasure trip. I went to a couple of small but monumental cities in the centre of Spain, Segovia and Ávila. I also went to La Granja Royal Palace to enjoy its amazing fountains. It was an exhausting trip, but also very rewarding.


Rafa Nadal is one of the brightest sport stars of this time. His achievements in the last five years are astonishing, and he is the best tennis player at this moment. His matches are usually broadcast on TV. I immensely enjoy watching these matches. Until last year, he used to hold a fascinating pulse with Roger Federer, who is widely considered among the best tennis players ever. The multiple Federer vs. Nadal matches in the last few years were, in my opinion, one of the finest sport events. Their Wimbledon'08 final was one of the most dramatic matches in the history of tennis. The exquisite talent of Federer and the physical and mental strength of Nadal produced a unique mix. Even if the vast majority of Spaniards are supporters of Rafa, we acknowledge and respect the incredible skills of Roger (this is also unique: rivals of Spanish sport figures are naturally the target of our 'negative affect' --consider the case of Alonso/Hamilton). All tennis aficionados are sad while we watch the brightness of Roger's star to fade out. Apparently, he is being replaced by younger players who are challenging Nadal's dominance. So far, it is in vain. No one can win everytime, but right now, Rafa seems to be unbreakable. A couple of hours ago, he beat Novak Djokovic again in a long and dramatic match. Tomorrow, Rafa will play another final. Sooner or later, he'll lose, but anyway, we'll enjoy watching tennis of the highest quality. So, thank you Rafa, and thank you too to Roger and the other rivals, for allowing us to vibrate with the finest professional sport.

Cómo licenciar un PFC como Software Libre en Uniovi

(Sorry folks, switching to Spanish for an announcement)

Tejo, Sergio and Medrano han escrito un breve documento en el que se describe cómo puedes licenciar tu Proyecto/Trabajo Fin de Carrera como software libre si eres estudiante de la Universidad de Oviedo. Ojalá resulte útil y veamos muchos más proyectos liberados. Aunque yo también figuro como autor, mi aportación ha sido escasa, y el mérito es todo suyo.

También está anunciado en el blog de Medrano. ¡Ayúdanos a darle difusión!