YQL: A query language for the Web

After months in hiding, I can finally talk about the stuff I’ve been working on.

I was involved in creating YQL and was responsible for leading the query engine implementation. I am very pleased to see it being released to the public today. Check out Jonathan’s talk which gives a great overview of YQL. (Jonathan’s posted about the YQL Launch here)

YQL adds the simplicity and self describable nature of SQL to the Web. In addition to this, you can also join disparate webservices with common keys. For example Yahoo’s “guid” can be used to join many common webservices which are keyed on “guid”s.

The basic goals that we had in mind while designing YQL are as follows:

  • Ease of use – SQLish syntax lowers the barrier to entry since its very popular with developers everywhere.
  • Self describing – desc <table>, show tables (the beauty of SQL lies in its simplicity and self describing nature and we wanted to piggy back on these fundamentals)
  • Data Access Options – With YQL you can access both Yahoo’s webservices as well the Web’s data (with tables such as RSS, ATOM, FEED and XML). We also support external webservices to stress on the ‘O’ in YOS (Open)
  • Extensible – (Still in the works but we intend to make it easy to extend the list of supported tables)
  • Best Effort – In the Web world we realise that disparate services have different strengths and weaknesses. Keeping this in mind, YQL employs a “best effort” query fulfillment strategy with warning/error messages as necessary (in the diagnostics section of the response)

Please try out the console at “http://developer.yahoo.com/yql/console” and provide your feedback here. As with all 1.0 stuff, please bear in mind we still have a lot of work to do and wrinkles to iron out.

Kudos to the rest of the YQL team – Brad, Josh, Paul, Sam and Jonathan.

Happy Diwali

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  • http://paul.donnelly.org/2008/10/29/yql-launches/ YQL launches!

    [...] an awesome presentation recently on YQL, please check it out. Props to the rest of the YQL team Nagesh, Josh, Brad and Sam. [...]

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    Thanks for the informative post. SQL syntax is the most difficult thing for me at the moment. I am an application developer so I need to learn it a lot. Your post have helped me a lot so keep posting this great stuff! I will be keeping an eye on your blog in the future too. Thank you one more time.

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    The query language uses the abstract persistence schemas of entities, including their relationships, for its data model and defines operators and expressions based on this data model. The scope of a query spans the abstract schemas of related entities that are packaged in the same persistence unit. The query language uses an SQL-like syntax to select objects or values based on entity abstract schema types and relationships among them.

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