Schema Generator 3: A Step Towards Redecentralizing the Web!

I just released API Platform Schema Generator version 3! It’s a command-line tool, part of the API Platform framework, that instantly generates a complete PHP data model (classes, enumerations, ORM mapping, validation rules, web API definitions, PHPDoc…) from RDF vocabularies and ontologies. RDF vocabularies are commonly used to define web-scale (Schema.org), industry-wide (The NASA Air Traffic Management Ontology, The Automotive Ontology, AddictO Vocab) or organization-wide (EU Vocabularies, Volkswagen Vehicles Ontology) concepts and relationships.

New Features

Vocabulary support in versions 1 and 2 of the tool was limited. Only Schema.org was 100% supported. Version 3 is now compatible with most existing vocabularies. To do so, we have implemented support for the Web Ontology Language (OWL) and for XML Schema types.

Also, the generated code now leverages the new features introduced in recent PHP versions, especially the improvements made to the type system: typed properties, nullable type declarations…

Towards a Decentralized Web

As you probably know, I’m very concerned about the centralization of the web:

The web is being weaponized by Tech Giants and governments. What used to be a free and autonomous space, an emancipation instrument where marginalized groups had a voice, is becoming a mass surveillance tool where censorship rules. We must act to redecentralize, just as the original was designed. Following Trump’s ban (which was entirely justified), even the creator of Twitter comes to this conclusion:

Among the various RDF vocabularies, one could be the foundation for this redecentralized web: ActivityStreams. It’s the vocabulary of ActivityPub, a W3C-backed social networking protocol used to build decentralized and federated social media. ActivityPub is already implemented by popular social media software including Mastodon, PeerTube, Mobilizon and WriteFreely. Servers implementing the ActivityPub protocol are interoperable and federated in what we call the Fediverse.

And here we’re back to API Platform Schema Generator v3: this new version has been created especially to bootstrap PHP applications using ActivityStreams! Generating a set of PHP classes implementing the vocabulary is as easy as cherry-picking the types and properties you want in a config file!

And that’s not all. I also created a new experimental component implementing the whole ActivityPub protocol: API Platform ActivityPub!

Thanks to this component, connecting a Symfony or an API Platform application (including existing ones) to the Fediverse is just a matter of installing a bundle! As all other API Platform components, API Platform ActivityPub can also be used as a standalone PHP library in projects not using Symfony.

PHP was the language of choice to build the original (at that time decentralized) web. Over the years, PHP dramatically improved, removing most footguns and becoming one of the fastest programming languages. But PHP is still easy to learn, and usable by hobbyists. I hope that it will become the language of choice to build the redecentralized web, and that API Platform will help to achieve this goal!

Links

Sponsor Me!

To allow me to work more on API Platform, my other free software projects and my experiments to redecentralize the web, consider sponsoring me! (Yes I know, GitHub is a proprietary service and belongs to a Big Tech, but we all have our contradictions, and I hope to be able to switch to radicle at some point.)