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04 December 2012, 11:10

Semantic MediaWiki 1.8 released

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Semantic Mediawiki logo The new version 1.8 of Semantic MediaWiki (SMW) has upgraded its backend module for storing data. Storing and reading data should now be faster due to improved caching mechanisms and optimised table layouts. Semantic MediaWiki is an extension for the MediaWiki software, which is used by projects such as Wikipedia and which allows users to store and query data in wiki pages as a semantic wiki.

Regular Wikis are made of pages of structured text and untyped hyperlinks, but have little information about the data within the page, while a semantic wiki is able to store annotations that capture information about the data making it possible to query the wiki like a database. For example, this can allow specially marked information on a page to be included in overview tables or integrated into other wiki pages without redundantly duplicating the data. RDF export tools also provide interfaces to the semantic web.

As well as the improved database backend for Sematic MediaWiki 1.8, there are a number of other changes. The #subobject function, which is used for complex data structures, now requires less administrative effort and offers greater versatility. The "feed" SMV query format, which is highly useful as an extension for the rather inflexible MediaWiki newsfeeds, can now output Atom as well as RSS.

The query API that provides external access to SMW data is now considered stable, and the syntax it uses largely conforms with the parameters for internal wiki queries. A new extension of the #ask query function provides information on all the queries that are defined within a wiki. This offers benefits such as optimised performance and less redundancy.

Released under the GPLv2 licence, SMW 1.8.0 is now available to download free of charge; installation and upgrading instructions can be found on a comprehensive help page. The release notes provide an overview of the new features and bug fixes.


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