In order to follow this How-to you will need to be proficient in PHP and RDF.

Accessing the TAO API

Web access

  • If you have already completed the How-To Make_a_new_extension|Make a New Extension tutorial, you know how to add your own Module (Controller) to a TAO Extension. In this case It would probably be most comfortable to define a new module and include every of these code snippets in its own actions. These can then be called easily via your browser.

  • Further down in the example we’re accessing constants of the extension TaoItems. For these please add the extension TaoItems to your dependencies.

Command-line access

  • If you are planning to run your script in command-line PHP, you will need to initialise the TAO Framework in order to access to it’s functionalities. For this all you need to do is include FILESYSTEM_TAO_FOLDER/tao/includes/raw_start.php at the beginning of your file. This will not only make use of the TAO autoloader, but will also load the required constants and use the credentials of your current installation to access the persistence layer.

  • Further down in the example we’re accessing constants of the extension TaoItems. For these please include FILESYSTEM_TAO_FOLDER/taoItems/includes/raw_start.php instead.



During the installation, a new user (the admin account) is added to TAO. If we to wanted view the label of this user we would call:

$user = new core_kernel_classes_Resource(LOCAL_NAMESPACE.'#superUser');
$propertyLabel = new core_kernel_classes_Property(RDFS_LABEL); //

$literals = $user->getPropertyValues($propertyLabel);

In this example $literals will be an array with a single string.


If we wanted to know which roles a user has, we would call:

$user = new core_kernel_classes_Resource(LOCAL_NAMESPACE.'#superUser');
$propertyRoles = new core_kernel_classes_Property(PROPERTY_USER_ROLES); //
$uris = $user->getPropertyValues($propertyRoles);

Since the values are references to existing roles and not literals as in our last example, the elements of $resources are the URIs of these resources. In order to visualise them we can create a resource of type core_kernel_classes_Resource an use the same $resource->getPropertyValues($propertyLabel) we used earlier. But there is an even simpler way since generis offers a shortcut: getLabel()

foreach ($uris as $uri) {
   $resource = new core_kernel_classes_Resource($uri);
   echo 'The admin has the role: '.$resource->getLabel()."\n";


If we want to add a statement to the database the Syntax is very similar, instead of getPropertyValues we call setPropertyValue:

$user = new core_kernel_classes_Resource(LOCAL_NAMESPACE.'#superUser');
$propertyComment = new core_kernel_classes_Property(RDFS_COMMENT); //

$success = $user->setPropertyValue($propertyComment, 'a nice guy');

Note however that this will not replace the comment, but merely add another comment.

If we want to replace the current comment with our own we would use editPropertyValues:

$success = $user->editPropertyValues($propertyComment, 'an ok guy');

To remove a specific value we use removePropertyValue:

$success = $user->removePropertyValue($propertyComment, 'an ok guy');

Finally removePropertyValues allows us to remove all values at once:

$success = $user->removePropertyValues($propertyComment);

All these methods work identically for adding/removing Resources from the database.


In order to add a new instance to the system we call createInstance on the class we want to create an instance of:

$itemClass = new core_kernel_classes_Class(TAO_ITEM_CLASS); //

$newItem = $itemClass->createInstance('optionalItemLabel');

The newly created instance will be of type TAO_ITEM_CLASS and have the label ‘optionalItemLabel’ which is, as the name indicates, an optional parameter.

In order to create a new class, you can either subClass an existing class using createSubClass:

$subClass = $itemClass->createSubClass('optionalSubclassLabel');

or since classes are only instances of the master class, instantiate it:

$classClass = new core_kernel_classes_Class('');
$newClass = $classClass->createInstance('optionalLabel');


In order to delete a resource a simple call to delete of this resource suffices:

$resource = new core_kernel_classes_Resource(LOCAL_NAMESPACE.'#instance1');
$success = $resource->delete();

This will delete all statements having as subject this resource.

If you want to delete all the statements referencing the instance across the database as well, set the parameter $deleteReference to true:

$success = $resource->delete(true);

This will delete all statements having the resource as either subject or object.


Sometimes we require the reverse operation of getPropertyValues() and we want to find all the resources that have a specific value for a property.

If for example we want to find all the users that have the role ‘Global Manager Role’ we can use searchInstances:

$userClass = new core_kernel_classes_Class(CLASS_GENERIS_USER);
$globalManagerRole = new core_kernel_classes_Resource(INSTANCE_ROLE_GLOBALMANAGER); //

$resources = $userClass->searchInstances(array(
    PROPERTY_USER_ROLES => $globalManagerRole

This returns a list of resources, that are instances of the class $userClass, and that have the object $globalManagerRole for the predicate PROPERTY_USER_ROLES.

Several conditions can be combined in order to narrow down the search:

$itemClass = new core_kernel_classes_Class(TAO_ITEM_CLASS);

$resources = $itemClass->searchInstances(array(
    RDFS_LABEL => 'Periods of History'

However this only returns items that are direct instances of the TAO item class. In order to search the subclasses as well we need to add the option ‘recursive’:

$resources = $itemClass->searchInstances(array(
    RDFS_LABEL => 'Periods of History'
), array(
    'recursive' => true

These are the currently supported options, please note that they are subject to change:

name type default comment

like bool true chaining ‘or’/’and’ ‘and’ recursive bool true lang string none applied all properties limit int none offset int 0 order property none property to order by orderdir ‘ASC’/’DESC’ ’ASC’



Sometimes functions (such as getUniquePropertyValue(), getOnePropertyValue, …) return an instance of type core_kernel_classes_Literal, if the value of the property is a literal. To get the string representation we simply call the __toString() explicitly or we cast it to the string PHP datatype which will trigger the conversion implicitly.

echo 'Label: '.(string)current($literals);