Since my first posting of 175 semantic Web tools and then an update to 250, the listing has become quite popular and an apparent asset to the semantic Web community. While this AI3 tools listing is not as precise and restricted as the “official” ESW one on the W3C’s Web site, it does contain useful adjunct tools in such areas as parsers, natural language processing, wrappers and the like that are also of potential usefulness to semantic Web practitioners.
Because of the popularity of this listing, I decided to make it easier to access and update by others in the community. Thus, I converted the listing to a permanent feature of this blog (see the Sweet Tools link to the upper left in the Main Links area) as well as posted a publicly accessible Google spreadsheet link (requires Google account!) for direct updates.
As of the date of this posting, I have added 42 new tools since version 5. The listings are posted as an Exhibit-based lightweight structured data publication (as explained here), which allows filtering, sorting and current statistics.
I continue to characterize the listings by: 1) FOSS (free and open source software), with about 90% of the listings being so; and 2) a categorization of the tool type. Currently, there are 27 categories listed, of which some of the tools are surely mis-characterized. If you add a tool (see below), please try to use these categories or suggest a new one to me directly.
I should also note that I track about 250 companies that provide semantic Web software (generally) under license fees. Most of those companies are NOT included in this listing; I may add these at a later point, but such tools are generally quite expensive. (To learn more about these companies, you may want to try SweetSearch, and then restrict by the ‘Company’ facet.)
Finally, you might be interested in the open source popularity of these listings. Raphael Volz published a popularity analysis of the earlier 250 tools listing based on SourceForge statistics; very interesting reading! Thanks, Raphael.
Selective v. Comprehensive Listings
I should mention that I have seen some commentary within the semantic Web community of the desirability of compiling “best of” or “Top X” tools listings for the semantic Web. While such lists have their place, they are no substitute for comprehensive listings. First, semantic tools are still in their infancy and it is premature to bestow “best of” in most categories. Second, many practitioners, such as me, are working to extend and improve existing tools. This requires more comprehensive listings, not narrower ones. And, last, what may ultimately contribute to semantic meaning on the Internet may well extend beyond semantic Web tools, strictly defined. An ivory tower focus on purity is not the means to encourage experimentation and innovation. Many Web 2.0 initiatives, including tagging and social collaboration, may very well point to more effective nucleation points for expanding semantic Web efforts than W3C-compliant efforts.
These are some of the reasons that I have been happy to include simple Firefox extensions or relatively narrow format converters for my listings. Who knows? You never know when and where you might find a gem! (And I’m not speaking solely of Ruby!)
Two Ways to Contribute
If you have new tools to add, corrections to current listings, or any other suggestions, you have two ways to contribute. The easiest way is to post a comment to this entry and I will update the listing based on your input. The second way is to access the Google spreadsheet link itself and make changes directly. I will continue to keep this spreadsheet public unless spam proves to be a problem.
Thanks for your interest and Enjoy!