Example 1: Creating a repository and triple indices

Listing catalogs

The first task is to attach to our AllegroGraph Server and open a repository. To achieve this we build a chain of Python objects, ending in a “connection” object that lets us manipulate triples in a specific repository. The overall process of generating the connection object follows this diagram:

The first example opens (or creates) a repository by building a series of client-side objects, culminating in a “connection” object.

The connection object contains the methods that let us manipulate triples in a specific repository.


Before we start, we will extract the location of the AG server from environment variables

import os

AGRAPH_HOST = os.environ.get('AGRAPH_HOST')
AGRAPH_PORT = int(os.environ.get('AGRAPH_PORT', '10035'))
AGRAPH_USER = os.environ.get('AGRAPH_USER')

AllegroGraph connection functions use these environment variables as defaults, but we will pass the values explicitly to illustrate how to specify connection parameters in Python.

The example first connects to an AllegroGraph Server by providing the endpoint (host IP address and port number) of an already-launched AllegroGraph server. This creates a client-side server object, which can access the AllegroGraph server’s list of available catalogs through the listCatalogs() method. Note that the name of the root catalog will be represented by None:

from franz.openrdf.sail.allegrographserver import AllegroGraphServer

print("Connecting to AllegroGraph server --",
      "host:'%s' port:%s" % (AGRAPH_HOST, AGRAPH_PORT))
server = AllegroGraphServer(AGRAPH_HOST, AGRAPH_PORT,
                            AGRAPH_USER, AGRAPH_PASSWORD)
print("Available catalogs:")
for cat_name in server.listCatalogs():
    if cat_name is None:
        print('  - <root catalog>')
        print('  - ' + str(cat_name))

This is the output so far:

Connecting to AllegroGraph server -- host:'...
Available catalogs:
  - <root catalog>

This output says that the server has the root catalog and possibly also some other catalogs that someone has created for some experimentation.

Listing repositories

In the next part of this example, we use the openCatalog() method to create a client-side catalog object. In this example we will connect to the root catalog. When we look inside that catalog, we can see which repositories are available:

catalog = server.openCatalog('')
print("Available repositories in catalog '%s':" % catalog.getName())
for repo_name in catalog.listRepositories():
    print('  - ' + repo_name)

The corresponding output lists the available repositories. When you run the examples, you may see a different list of repositories.

Available repositories in catalog 'None':
 - pythontutorial
 - greenthings
 - redthings

Creating repositories

The next step is to create a client-side repository object representing the respository we wish to open, by calling the getRepository() method of the catalog object. We have to provide the name of the desired repository ('python-tutorial'), and select one of four access modes:

  • Repository.RENEW clears the contents of an existing repository before opening. If the indicated repository does not exist, it creates one.
  • Repository.OPEN opens an existing repository, or throws an exception if the repository is not found.
  • Repository.ACCESS opens an existing repository, or creates a new one if the repository is not found.
  • Repository.CREATE creates a new repository, or throws an exception if one by that name already exists.
from franz.openrdf.repository.repository import Repository

mode = Repository.RENEW
my_repository = catalog.getRepository('python-tutorial', mode)

A new or renewed repository must be initialized, using the initialize() method of the repository object.

Connecting to a repository

The goal of all this object-building has been to create a client-side connection object, whose methods let us manipulate the triples of the repository. The repository object’s getConnection() method returns this connection object.

conn = my_repository.getConnection()
print('Repository %s is up!' % my_repository.getDatabaseName())
print('It contains %d statement(s).' % conn.size())

The size() method of the connection object returns how many triples are present. In the example1() function, this number will always be zero because we “renewed” the repository.

This is the output so far:

Repository python-tutorial is up!
It contains 0 statement(s).

Managing indices

Whenever you create a new repository, you should stop to consider which kinds of triple indices you will need. This is an important efficiency decision. AllegroGraph uses a set of sorted indices to quickly identify a contiguous range of triples that are likely to match a specific query pattern.

These indices are identified by names that describe their organization. The default set of indices are called spogi, posgi, ospgi, gspoi, gposi, gospi, and i , where:

  • S stands for the subject URI.
  • P stands for the predicate URI.
  • O stands for the object URI or literal.
  • G stands for the graph URI.
  • I stands for the triple identifier (its unique id number within the triple store).

The order of the letters denotes how the index has been organized. For instance, the spogi index contains all of the triples in the store, sorted first by subject, then by predicate, then by object, and finally by graph. The triple id number is present as a fifth column in the index. If you know the URI of a desired resource (the subject value of the query pattern), then the spogi index lets you quickly locate and retrieve all triples with that subject.

The idea is to provide your respository with the indices that your queries will need, and to avoid maintaining indices that you will never need.

We can use the connection object’s listValidIndices() method to examine the list of all possible AllegroGraph triple indices:

indices = conn.listValidIndices()
group_size = 5
print('All valid triple indices:')
for offset in range(0, len(indices), group_size):
    group = indices[offset:offset + group_size]
    print('  ', ' '.join(group))

This is the list of all possible valid indices:

All valid triple indices:
   spogi spgoi sopgi sogpi sgpoi
   sgopi psogi psgoi posgi pogsi
   pgsoi pgosi ospgi osgpi opsgi
   opgsi ogspi ogpsi gspoi gsopi
   gpsoi gposi gospi gopsi i

AllegroGraph can generate any of these indices if you need them, but it creates only seven indices by default. We can see the current indices by using the connection object’s listIndices() method:

indices = conn.listIndices()
print('Current triple indices:', ', '.join(indices))

There are currently seven indices

Current triple indices: i, gospi, gposi, gspoi, ospgi, posgi, spogi

The indices that begin with “g” are sorted primarily by subgraph (or “context”). If your application does not use subgraphs, you should consider removing these indices from the repository. You don’t want to build and maintain triple indices that your application will never use. This wastes CPU time and disk space. The connection object has a convenient dropIndex() method:

print("Removing graph indices...")
indices = conn.listIndices()
print('Current triple indices:', ', '.join(indices))

Having dropped three of the triple indices, there are now four remaining:

Removing graph indices...
Current triple indices: i, ospgi, posgi, spogi

The i index is for deleting triples by using the triple id number. It is also required for free text indexing. The ospgi index is sorted primarily by object value, which makes it possible to efficiently retrieve a range of object values from the index. Similarly, the posgi index lets us quickly reach for a triples that all share the same predicate. We mentioned previously that the spogi index speeds up the retrieval of triples that all have the same subject URI.

As it happens, we may have been overly hasty in eliminating all of the graph indices. AllegroGraph can find the right matches as long as there is any one index present, but using the “right” index is much faster. Let’s put one of the graph indices back, just in case we need it. We’ll use the connection object’s addIndex() method:

print("Adding one graph index back in...")
indices = conn.listIndices()
print('Current triple indices:', ', '.join(indices))
Adding one graph index back in...
Current triple indices: i, gspoi, ospgi, posgi, spogi

Releasing resources

Both the connection and the repository object must be closed to release resources once they are no longer needed. We can use the shutDown() and close() methods to do this:


It is safer and more convenient to ensure that the resources are released by using the with statement:

with catalog.getRepository('python-tutorial', Repository.OPEN) as repo:
    # Note: an explicit call to initialize() is not required
    # when using the `with` statement.
    with repo.getConnection() as conn:
        print('Statements:', conn.size())
Statements: 0

Utility functions

Creating the intermediate server, catalog and repository objects can be tedious when the only thing required is a single connection to one repository. In such circumstances it might be more convenient to use the ag_connect() function. That is what we will do in further examples. Here is a brief example of using ag_connect()

from franz.openrdf.connect import ag_connect

with ag_connect('python-tutorial', create=True, clear=True) as conn:
    print('Statements:', conn.size())

This function take care of creating all required objects and the returned context manager ensures that all necessary initialization steps are taken and no resources are leaked. The create and clear arguments ensure that the repository is empty and that it is created if necessary.

Statements: 0