Thursday Dec 04, 2008

JavaOne 2009 call for papers

Picture of JavaOne2008 keynote conference room

The JavaOne 2009 call for papers is now open (direct link to form). The deadline for paper submissions is December 19th.

Last year we had three Semantic Web related talks: one panel presentation, an introduction by Dean Allemang, and a small Birds of A Feather session. The talks went very well and were very well attended, surprisingly so given that they were somewhat in the wrong logical order, starting with the panel discussion, and ending with theory. Dean Allemang had over 300 attendees at his talk ( slides ). JavaOne is compared to most developer conferences huge. There are usually over 15 thousand attendees, so it is an excellent venue to speak to and convert a very large crowd to something new in one go.

I don't expect us to grow at the same rate as we did last year (we had a 200% increase in the number of talks). But I think we really should fit in some presentations on Java Semantic Web Frameworks, such as Sesame, Mulgara, Jena, or something that gives an overview on all of them. But I am not here to decide what goes in these talks. The track to look at is probably services track which covers a huge swath from cloud computing to web 2.0 SOA and more.

Remember that JavaOne attendees are practical people most of all. There is also a very large space for businesses to introduce attendees to their products. So we are here at the point where research meets business.

I know this clashes with the 6th European Semantic Web Conference in Greece, so I myself may have to do the impossible task of being at both simultaneously. On the other hand it is only one week before the Semantic Technology Conference in San Jose, so it can be a good time to visit the Bay Area, and meet the companies here, or vacation in the sun. :-)

See: JavaOne2008 or JavaOne tagged photos on flickr.

Thursday Sep 04, 2008

Building Secure, Open and Distributed Social Network Applications

Current Social Networks don't allow you to have friends outside their network. When on Facebook, you can't point to your friend on LinkedIn. They are data silos. This audio enhanced slide show explains how a distributed decentralized social network is being built, how it works, and how to make is secure using the foaf+ssl protocol (a list of pointers on the esw wiki).

It is licenced under a CC Attribution ShareAlike Licence.
My voice is a bit odd on the first slide, but it gets better I think as I go along.

Building Secure Open & Distributed Social Networks( Viewing this slide show requires a flash plugin. Sorry I only remembered this limitation after having put it online. If you know of a good Java substitute let me know. The other solution would have been to use Slidy. PDF and Annotated Open Document Format versions of this presentation are available below. (why is this text visible in Firefox even when the plugin works?) )

This is the presentation I gave at JavaOne 2008 and at numerous other venues in the past four months.

The slidecast works a lot better as a presentation format, than my previous semantic web video RDF: Connecting Software and People which I published as a h.264 video over a couple of years ago, and which takes close to 64MB of disk space. The problem with that format is that it is not easy to skip through the slides to the ones that interest you, or to go back and listen to a passage carefully again. Or at least it feels very clunky. My mp3 sound file only takes 17MB of space in comparison, and the graphics are much better quality in this slide show.

It is hosted by the excellent slideshare service, which translated my OpenOffice odp document ( once they were cleaned up a little: I had to make sure it had no pointers to local files remaining accessible from the Edit>Links menu (which otherwise choked their service)). I used the Audacity sound editor to create the mp3 file which I then place on my server. Syncing the sound and the slides was then very easy using SlideShare's SlideCast application. I found that the quality of the slides was a lot better once I had created an account on their servers. The only thing missing would be a button in addition to the forward and backward button that would allow one to show the text of the audio, for people with hearing problems - something equivalent to the Notes view in Open Office.

You can download the OpenOffice Presentation which contains my notes for each slide and the PDF created from it too. These are all published under a Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike license. If you would like some of the base material for the slides, please contact me. If you would like to present them in my absence feel free to.

Wednesday May 07, 2008

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.

Tuesday May 06, 2008

BOF-5911: Building a Web 3.0 Address Book

To give everyone a chance to try out the So(m)mer Address Book, I have made it available via Java Web Start: just click on the picture to the right, and try it out.

The Address Book is currently demoware: it shows how one can build virally an open distributed social network client that solves the social network data silo problem (video). No need to have an account on every social networking site on which you have friends, and so maintain your data on each one. You can simply belong to one network and link to all your friends wherever they are. With one click of a button you can publish your social network to your own web server, using ftp, scp, WebDAV, or even Atom. You can then link to other people who have (or not in fact), a foaf file. By pressing the space bar when selecting a friend, the Address Book with then GET their file. So you can browse your social network.

To get going you can explore my social network by dragging my foaf file icon onto the first pane of the application.

In BOF-5911 which I will be presenting on Thursday at 7:30pm I will be presenting the social networking problem, demonstrating how the So(m)mer Address Book solves it, and showing in detail how it is build, what the problems are, and what work remains. I will also discuss how this can be used to create global single sign on based on a network of trust.


An improved version of the presentation I gave is now available online with audio as Building Secure, Open and Distributed Social Network Applications

Friday Feb 01, 2008

3 semantic web talks for JavaOne 2008

At least 3 semantic web talks were accepted for JavaOne 2008, taking place on May 6-9 in San Francisco. There may be more, but the following I am sure of:

  • A talk by Dean Allemang on practical ontology writing based on his soon to be published book "The Working Ontologist". I am really looking forward to it coming out, as it is a book that should help cut down the learning curve dramatically.
  • Über programmer Tim Boudreau and I will be presenting Beatnik: Building an Open Social Network Browser at a Birds of a Feather session. We will look at both the client and server side components and how the theory developed by Dean can turn into a practical product that solves real problems: the data silo effect of current social networking sites.
  • Finally some key players will be joining the "Developing Semantic Web Applications on the Java™ Platform" panel where we will hopefully start a discussion and get feedback on what can be done to bring many many more of the 5 million Java developers on board the semantic web. This panel discussion ( the list of panelists is not complete yet ) will be hosted by Rob Frost of BEA and I.

Hopefully this should allow the 20 thousand or so attendees joining us at JavaOne to get a good overview of the the practical developments in this area. And if they like it, the Semantic Conference in San Jose will be taking place a week later from the 18th to the 22nd of May where they will be able meet many of the leading companies and researchers in this area.

For detailed session information see my later post.

Friday May 11, 2007

Semantic Web Birds of a Feather at JavaOne 2007

Nova Spivack, Lew Tucker, and Tim Boudreau joined me today in a panel discussion on the Semantic Web at Java One. Given that it was at 8pm and that we were competing with a huge party downstairs with free drinks, with robots fighting each other, with live bands, and numerous other private pub parties, the turnout of over 250 participants was quite extraordinary [1]. There was a huge amount of material to cover, and we managed to save 13 minutes at the end for questions. The line of questioners was very long and I think most were answered to the satisfaction of the questioners. It was really great having Nova and Lew over. They brought a lot of experience to the discussion, which I hope gave everyone a feel for the richness of what is going on in this area.

Since many people asked for the presentation it is available here.

[1] It was quite difficult to tell from the stage how many people were in the room, but a good one third of the 1200 room was full . 580 people had registered for the talk.

Tuesday May 08, 2007

Dropping some Doap into NetBeans

Yesterday evening I gave a short 10 minute presentation on the Semantic Web in front of a crowd of 1000 NetBeans developers during James Gosling's closing presentation at NetBeans Day in San Francisco.

In interaction with Tim Boudreau we managed to give a super condensed introduction to the Semantic Web, something that is only possible because its foundations are so crystal clear - which was the underlying theme of the talk. It's just URIs and REST and relations to build clickable data. (see the pdf of the presentation)

All of this lead to a really simple demonstration of an integration with NetBeans that Tim Boudreau was key in helping me put together. Tim wrote the skeleton of a simple NetBeans plugin (stored in the contrib/doap section of the NetBeans CVS repository), and I used Sesame 2 beta 3 to extract the data from the so(m)mer doap file that got dropped onto NetBeans. As a result NetBeans asked us were we wanted to download the project, and after selecting a directory on my file system, it proceeded to check out the code. On completion it asked us if we wanted to install the modules in our NetBeans project. Now that is simple. Drag a DOAP url onto NetBeans: project checked out!

This Thursday we will be giving a much more detailed overview of the Semantic Web in the BOF-6746 - Web 3.0: This is the Semantic Web, taking place at 8pm at Moscone on Thursday. Hope to see you there!




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