OBD API Documentation

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This section is to document the inherited (and sometimes modified) code in Java, Perl, and SQL, that downloads the ontologies and data from various repositories and locations online, and finally reasons with (as in infers implicit knowledge from) the downloaded data.

WARNING: This section will probably never be properly formatted. It is meant mainly to be a breadcrumb trail for the author (Cartik).

OBD Data Model Entities

DataAdapter <Interface> <org.bbop.dataadapter>

  • Uses a data adapter configuration (DataAdapterConfiguration) and a Data Adapter UI (DataAdapterUI). A basic interface for data input and output. This interface specifies nothing about the storage/access method, the kind of operation, or what sort of data will be manipulated. This class specifies a standard data adapter interface to allow widgets for data adapter manipulation to be built.
  • Method declarations for
    • Canceling data operation
    • Returning list of operations
    • Returning adapter configuration
    • Generic method signature doOperation
      • Performs the specified operation on the input using the given configuration. The input value may be null if executing a read-only operation. The return value may be null if executing a write-only operation.

DataAdapterUI <Interface> <org.bbop.dataadapter>

  • An interface to work with a data adapter. Uses an adapter configuration and a UI Configuration.
  • Method declarations for:
    • Initializing adapter given a data adapter, Iooperation and adapter widget
    • Getting and setting adapter configuration
    • Getting and setting UI configuration
    • Creating an empty configuration

Namespace <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Uses a path and id parameters, and a private id as well. Provides implementations of comparators and equals methods where Ids are compared. ID is the same as path.

IdentifiableObject <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Declares methods to get ID and determine if its anonymous

NestedValue <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Declares methods to get property values, add a property value, get and set suggested comments and to get the name of the nested value

PropertyValue <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Implements a method to compare property values based upon first comparing the property names and then comparing the property values.
  • Includes method declarations to get file name, name, line number (int), get property name and value.

NamespacedObject <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Declares methods to get and set namespaces and namespace extensions

IdentifiedObject <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Declares methods to get type and property values, get and set type extension, name, name extension, Id extension, anonymous extension, and add and remove property values

Relationship <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Provides methods to get and set type (OBOProperty), child (LinkObject), and nested values.

Link <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Adds to relationship. Provides methods to get and set parents and namespaces to relationship methods

LinkedObject <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Provides methods to get children (Links), and add and remove parent, and children, atomic or otherwise (Links)

DefinedObject <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Extends Identified Object. Declares methods to get and set definitions and Default DBXrefs

DbXref <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Defines method for comparing DbXrefs on the basis of Database name and Database ID comparisons. Can be of 5 kinds: anatomical, synonym, unknown, analog, or definitional. Declares methods to get and set database ids, databases, synonyms, descriptions, types (one of the 5 mentioned earlier), and nested values

DataType <Interface> <org.obo.datamodel>

  • Includes a number of static members which are instances of implementations for Strings, positive integers, dates, booleans, durations, etc. Declares methods to get parent datatypes, value (In terms of the datatype), and the actual name of the datatype (in String form)

StringRelationship <org.obo.dataadapter>

  • A class to represent relationships in subject – relation – object format with namespace context. Includes parameters to capture relation properties like inverse and cardinalities. Also provides a method to forward Ids or change relation, subject, or object Ids from old to new.

HistoryItem <Abstract> <org.obo.history>

  • This class has been created to keep track of changes such as redefinitions and obsoletions of OBO entities such as OBOClass, OBORelation, OBORestriction etc. Every OBO entity contains a reference to a collection of HistoryItems to keep track of all the versions it has been through

Ontology Loader Entities


  • Arguments
    • Name of the database
    • Name of text file that holds list of ontologies to be loaded. This is in the '/conf' directory and the file is called 'obd-phenoscape.conf'
  • Steps
    1. Creates the database of the given name
    2. Invokes SQL scripts table, function, and view creation that are stored in the '/sql' directory. The files are called 'obd-core-schema.sql' and 'obd-core-views.sql'
    3. Creates new language with the handsome name, 'PLPGSQL'
    4. Inserts metadata into one of the created tables
    5. Uses PLPGSQL scripts to create more stored procedures
    6. For every entry in the 'obd-phenoscape.conf' file, it invokes the 'obd-load-db-from-obo.pl' script


  • Arguments
    • Name of the database to insert term definitions into
    • The entry from the 'obd-phenoscape.conf' file which is mapped into a PURL of an ontology
  • Steps
    1. Each ontology is downloaded using the 'wget' method from Perl
    2. After download, the 'obo2database" Shell script is invoked from the "../launch_scripts" directory for each ontology


This is a wrapper shell script for the 'OBO2Database' Java class in the '<org.oboedit.launcher>' package. This script:

  1. Gathers all the required library (JAR file) locations on the file system and puts them together in a command line CLASSPATH argument
  2. The name of the ontology file (download location), and name of the database to load the definitions into are assembled as command line arguments. IN addition to these, the command line argument also includes options for 'allowdangling' and 'o'
  3. VM options are assembled from the obo2database.vmoptions file in the "/launch_scripts" directory. Typically, this file specifies the memory usage requirements for the Java class as 1024 Kb ('-Xmx1024m')
  4. The OBO2Database class is now invoked with the assembled class path and command line arguments to start loading the ontology terms into the database

OBO2Database <org.oboedit.launcher>

This class does two things in order: reads in definitions from an OBO ontology and loads them into an OBOSession object, and then reads out from the OBOSession object and loads them into a relational database. To read in the OBO ontology, it uses an OBOFileAdapter <org.obo.dataadapter.OBOFileAdapter> object with a ReadConfiguration object. To write to the database, it uses an OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter <org,obo.dataadapter.OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter> with a WriteConfiguration object.

The key method in this class is the convertFiles() method which has the OBOFileAdapter and OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter objects with all the attendant configuration parameters set to appropriate values ('setBasicSave' is false, -allowdangling' is read in from the command line, the '-o' option creates a FilteredPath object with a SessionReasoner parameter set to false, etc), as arguments. The converFiles() method first calls the doOperation() method of the OBOFileAdapter class.

Here is an outline of the flow of command

1. OBO2Database -> convertFiles(OBOFileAdapter.OBOAdapterConfiguration, OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter.OBDSQLDatabaseAdapterConfiguration, false, false, false, null)


1.1 OBOFileAdapter -> doOperation(OBOAdapter.READ_ONTOLOGY, OBOFileAdapter.OBOAdapterConfiguration, null)

In this method, a OBOSimpleParser <org.obo.dataadapter.OBOSimpleParser> object is created and all the read configuration parameters are set. This OBOSimpleParserObject is then used to create an OBOParseEngine <org.obo.dataadapter.OBOParseEngine> object. The parse() method of this OBOParseEngine object is now invoked. The method is defined in the AbstractParseEngine class <org.obo.dataadapter.AbstractParseEngine>

1.1 OBOFileAdapter -> doOperation(OBOAdapter.READ_ONTOLOGY, OBOFileAdapter.OBOAdapterConfiguration, null)


1.1.1 AbstractParseEngine -> parse();

After a slew of method calls that initialize instance variables across OBOParseEngine, and SimpleOBOParser instances, this method (1.1.1) calls

OBOParseEngine -> doParse(String path)

This is the method which actually READS the ontology file

Line by line, this method invokes OBOParseEngine -> parseTag() which invokes OBOParseEngine -> parseTagValue() methods to work with the name-value definitions in the input OBO file

OBOParseEngine -> parseTagValue()

In this method, depending on what tag is being processed, different methods are invoked to store the value of the tag.

All these method definitions are in DefaultOBOParser class

After all the definitions are stored in the "OBOSession" instance (which is what OBOFileAdapter -> doOperation(OBOAdapter.READ_ONTOLOGY, OBOFileAdapter.OBOAdapterConfiguration, null) essentially does

1. OBO2Database -> convertFiles(OBOFileAdapter.OBOAdapterConfiguration, OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter.OBDSQLDatabaseAdapterConfiguration, false, false, false, null)


1.2 OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter -> doOperation(OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter.WRITE_ONTOLOGY, OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter.OBDSQLDatabaseAdapterConfiguration, OBOSession)

which starts to load in all the objects stored in OBOSession into the relational database

1.2 OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter -> doOperation(OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter.WRITE_ONTOLOGY, OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter.OBDSQLDatabaseAdapterConfiguration, OBOSession)


OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter -> storeAll(OBOSession, LinkDatabase)

This method gets the connection to the database and starts to write to the database. First the subset categories such as "attribute_slim" etc are written in. Then the objects are cycled through.

If object is not an annotation,

OBDSQLDatabaseAdapter -> saveObject(IdentifiedObject) is invoked.

In this method, various stored procedures from '../sql/api/obd-mutable-api.plpgsql' PLPGSQL script file are invoked to store the nodes and defined links from each node. DbXRef, subset, and various other links are entered into the database in this method.