Three Semantic Web talks at JavaOne 2008

Following on the success last year, JavaOne 2008 has lined up three talks on the Semantic Web, a 200% increase. The program should be an excellent way for Java enthusiasts to get a feel for how the Semantic Web is getting used in real application making money for real start ups, how to develop such apps in Java, how to build open social networks that bridge the social networking data silos, and with the help of Dean Allemang cover some theoretical grounds from a practical perspective .

Here is the timetable of the sessions at JavaOne. Highlighted in green are the three semantic web sessions. Highlighted in gray are 4 of the 5 sessions on Google's Open Social API, which reveals the importance social networks are taking in development. I don't think though that that API solves the real problem of current social networks: The Data silo problem. Only Semantic Web technologies can do that.

Update Sept 2008: Two of the talks are now available online:

JavaOne Semantic Sessions Time Table

Below are the details of the sessions in tabular format. I believe they should complement each other very well.

Session Title: Developing Semantic Web Applications on the Java™ Platform
Session Time: Thursday - 05/08/2008 - 1:30 PM-2:30 PM
Session ID: PAN-5542
Session Description: The semantic web is nearing the point of widespread practical adoption:

• The core specifications have stabilized.
• Tools and frameworks implementing key features have been through several development cycles (for a listing see
• An increasing number of major software companies have developed semantically enabled products or are actively researching the space.

As companies start to translate theory into real Java™ technology-based applications, they are confronted with a host of practical software engineering issues:

• What is the standard or recommended functional architecture of a semantic application?
• How does that architecture relate to the semantic web standards?
• Which of those standards are stable, and which can be expected to evolve in ways that would significantly affect prior applications?
• What types of tools/frameworks exist that can be leveraged to help implement semantic applications on the Java platform?
• How mature are the various categories of semantic web tools/frameworks?
• Can API standardization be expected for certain tool/framework categories?
• What best practices exist for the design and implementation of Java technology-based semantic applications?
• What best practices exist for the deployment of Java technology-based semantic applications?
• What future trends in Java platform support for semantic application development can be expected?

This panel session gathers together semantics experts from the software industry to address these and other practical issues relating to the development of semantic applications on the Java platform.

Track: Next Generation Web
Session Type: Panel Session
Duration: 60 minutes
Speaker(s): Jans Aasman, Franz Inc; Dean Allemang, TopQuadrant Inc. ; Brian Sletten, Zepheira, LLC; Henry Story, Sun Microsystems, Inc.; Lew Tucker, Radar Networks

Session Title: Beatnik: Building an Open Social Network Browser
Session Time: Thursday - 05/08/2008 - 7:30 PM-8:20 PM
Session ID: BOF-5911
Session Description: The recent growth of social networking sites is revealing the limits of the current ad hoc data architecture used by Web 2.0 sites. A typical example is that you cannot link to a person in a Facebook account from a LinkedIn account. What is needed to solve these problems is hyperdata, the ability to link data universally.

Hyperdata is to data what hypertext is to text. Where hypertext enables text to link up to other text, hyperdata enables data to link up to other data globally. Where HTML enables open, distributed hypertext, the semantic web enables open, distributed hyperdata. Anybody can publish data that then becomes reachable by any tool crawling the web of relations.

To illustrate the power of hyperdata, this session presents Beatnik, a social network browser and editor written entirely in the Java™ programming language that consumes any of the millions of available friend-of-a-friend (FOAF) files already published on the web and enables users to publish information about themselves and their own social network. It shows how you can drag and drop a FOAF URL onto Beatnik and start exploring a web of relations and find up-to-date information about where your friends live, who their friends are, and where people are currently located. With a click of a button, Beatnik will publish all your own relations to your web server in a nonintrusive way to make you part of the first globally available open social network.

After a quick overview of the semantic web and FOAF, the presentation takes a detailed look at how the Beatnik client is built. This involves digging into one of the many Java technology-based semantic web frameworks, such as Sesame, and its APIs; a Java-platform-to-RDF mapper, such as so(m)mer or Elmo; and how this enables inferencing on the Java platform.

On the server side, the presentation looks at how you can easily publish the contents of an LDAP database into any of the numerous RDF formats using JSR 311, the Java API for RESTful Web Services. It also covers the use of the Atom Publishing Protocol as a publication mechanism and discusses various security techniques for limiting the view of a personal graph of information by using OpenID and distributed-web-of-trust techniques.

Track: Cool Stuff, Cool Desktop; Cool Stuff, Cool Next Gen Web; Open Source, Open Source Next Gen Web; Cool Stuff; Desktop; Next Generation Web; Open Source
Session Type: Birds-of-a-Feather Session (BOF)
Duration: 50 minutes
Speaker(s): Tim Boudreau, Sun Microsystems, Inc.; Henry Story, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Session Title: Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist
Session Time: Friday 05/09/2008 - 1:30 PM-2:30 PM
Session ID: TS-5555
Session Description: This session presents the basics of practical semantic web deployment using standards-based tools on the Java™ platform. It covers the Resource Description Framework (RDF) as the fundamental mashup language of the web; SPARQL, the query language for RDF; and RDFS and OWL, which provide simple inferencing capabilities.

In the distributed world of the web, information is moving from a hypertext paradigm to a hyperdata paradigm--the web today is not just a web of documents but also a web of data. But that data is available on the web and in the enterprise in a wide variety of forms: HTML, XML, RSS, spreadsheets, databases, and so on. RDF provides a uniform way to identify information in a distributed setting to form a web of data.

The session demonstrates a Java technology-based platform (built on Eclipse) that uses RDF as an interlingua for merging information from multiple web sources. Java technology plays a key role in the success of the system in several ways. First, it uses the large variety of public domain semantic web software available on the Java platform as the basis of interoperability at the API level. Second, it uses the Eclipse framework as a visual editing environment for the ontologies. Finally, it uses the modularity of the Eclipse plug-in environment to enable a sort of plug-and-play architecture among semantic components.

One of the basic ideas of the semantic web is that semantic models, or “ontologies,” can be used to describe how data fits together. In the context of the web of hyperdata, an ontology can describe how data in one source relates to data from another, or even which sources of data should be merged to answer a particular question or support a particular application. The idea is that, armed with these tools, a working ontologist can describe hyperdata applications without resorting to a general-purpose programming language.

TopQuadrant has used these standards to construct a workbench for building semantic applications. Semantic mashups can be built by use of RDFS and OWL. TopQuadrant has also developed a visual flow editor for describing how distributed data can be merged in novel ways; it calls this editor SPARQLMotion, because it extends the standard query language SPARQL with intuitive information flow diagrams modeled in OWL. SPARQLMotion modules can be connected with a simple point-and-click interface to create novel arrangements.

Track: Next Generation Web
Session Type: Technical Session
Duration: 60 minutes
Speaker(s): Dean Allemang, TopQuadrant Inc.

Not a comment just a correction:
300% increase => 4 talks not 3

Posted by Kindergarten Kid on April 10, 2008 at 06:13 AM CEST #

Ah, you are rigth Kindergarten Kid. I could verify that this was the correct usage by entering the numbers 1 and 3 in the form here:

Mhh, 300% sounded good though.... ;-)

Posted by Henry Story on April 10, 2008 at 06:19 AM CEST #

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