Lab: Getting started with VSCode, Python and RDFlib

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Lab 1: Getting started with VSCode, Python and RDFlib


Today we have 2 goals. 1. To setup a programming environment that you will use for the lab excercises (if you don't already have one). 2. To start some basic programming of RDF.

Installation of and introduction to Python, VSCode, Pip and RDFlib.

VSCode is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that can be used for writing Python code.

Conda is a package and virtual environment manager that will help you avoid dependency conflicts and clutter.

The Pip command is used to easily install additional python packages for your coding environment.

RDFLib is a Python package for working with RDF. With this we can create RDF graphs, parse and serialize RDF, perform SPARQL queries on graphs and more.


You likely already have Python installed on your computer (it comes with MAC for instance). To find out, type 'python' in the commandline on windows or type 'python --version' in the terminal on your MAC. If you don't already have Python, one alternative is to download and install the Python for your operative system here. Per today (January 2022) RDFlib officially supports python version 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9. Or..

If you already have python 3.10 installed (not officially supported), or if you just want to install python in a most hygienic way, use Conda to create a virtual python environment for this course.

  • Install 'Miniconda' using the link above
  • Windows search for 'anaconda' and open a prompt, or open a terminal in mac and linux.
  • Enter 'conda update conda' to make sure you get the latest.
  • Enter 'conda create --name info216 python=3.9' to create a python 3.9 environment and name it after this course.
  • Enter 'conda activate info216' to use the new python environment.

If you are already using a different Python IDE than VSCode that you are comfortable with, then you are free to use that program instead.

Otherwise Download and Install the free and open source Visual Studio Code IDE here.

Start VSCode and create a new project by opening a folder with a new .py file. You can create the folder and file in the terminal or in windows explorer. Install the Python extension by Microsoft in the vscode extension manager. When the Python extension is installed you can use the 'select interpreter' field on the bottom left to use the virtual environment you made, or make sure you are using a supported version of Python.


Using the VSCode terminal, or activated conda terminal if you are using a conda environment, install RDFlib by simply entering: 'pip install rdflib'

To import rdflib to your .py file, write 'import rdflib' at the top of the file. Alternatively to import certain modules of rdflib, you can write e.g 'from rdflib import Graph'.

Coding Tasks

When solving the coding tasks you can look at the readings below if needed. Use the Classes/interfaces and methods listed at the bottom of the page. ()

1. Write a program that creates an RDF graph containing the triples from the following sentences. Note that one sentence could result in more than one triple. When solving these particular tasks I would try to avoid using Blank Nodes, and instead use full URI's instead. For URIs you can just use an example URI like "". This means that if you talk about a person called Cade, the URI could be "". Remember the Namespaces can be used so that you don't have to write the full URI everytime.

  • Cade is married to Mary
  • The capital of France is Paris
  • Cade is 27 years old
  • 26 years is the age of Mary
  • Marys interests include hiking, chocolate and biology
  • Mary is a student
  • Paris is a City in France
  • Cade and Mary are kind people

If you have more time...

If you have more time you can continue extending your graph with some of the stuff from lab 2: "Cade has the full name Cade Tracey. He lives in 1516 Henry Street, Berkeley, California 94709, USA. He has a B.Sc. in biology from the University of California, Berkeley from 2011. His interests include birds, ecology, the environment, photography and travelling. He has visited Canada and France." Try to use as many different methods as possible to create the triples.

Documentation and other useful reading

Conda documentation for what we did today

If needed here is an introduction of how to create projects and python files in VSCode Getting Started with Python in VS Code.

RDFLib Documentation- Todays focus are the following:

Additional recommended in depth documentation:

Slides from the lecture

Relevant RDFlib interfaces (and methods)

import rdflib:

  • Graph (add)
  • URIRef
  • Literal
  • NameSpace
  • Bnode
  • Collection

All RDFlib modules can be found here Browser search (often Ctrl-F) is useful here to find the module that you want. Look at the different serializations that are available and try a few of them out. Which serialization is the most comprehensible to you?