ProtégéVOWL is a Protégé plugin for the user-oriented visualization of ontologies. It implements the Visual Notation for OWL Ontologies (VOWL) by providing graphical depictions for elements of the Web Ontology Language (OWL) that are combined to a force-directed graph layout representing the ontology. ProtégéVOWL is based on VOWL 2, which focuses on the visualization of the ontology schema (i.e., the classes, properties and datatypes, also known as TBox).
Note that ProtégéVOWL has some known limitations and does not implement all visual elements defined in the VOWL 2 specification. A more complete implementation of VOWL 2 is provided by the web application WebVOWL.
One-sentence installation instructions: Download JAR file, copy it to the plugins folder of Protégé, start Protégé and activate the plugin via Window → Tabs → VOWL.
ProtégéVOWL has been developed for the ontology editor Protégé that needs to be downloaded and installed first. ProtégéVOWL requires at least version 4 of Protégé Desktop that is available at protege.stanford.edu free of charge.
2. Copy JAR file to the plugins folder of Protégé
ProtégéVOWL consists of a JAR file that can be downloaded here:
The JAR file must be copied to the plugin folder of Protégé that can be found at: <installation_path>\Protege_5.x\plugins\.
(Mac users copy the file to Protégé.app/Contents/Java/plugins.)
3. Start Protégé and activate the VOWL plugin
After Protégé has been started, the VOWL plugin can be activated via the Window menu (see Figure 1).
4. Verify Installation
A new tab entitled VOWL should be displayed next to the other tabs in Protégé (see Figure 2).
If this tab is selected, the active ontology is visualized using the VOWL notation. If nothing is visualized, an ontology first needs to be opened with Protégé (e.g. by selecting Open from URI... in the File menu and entering the URI http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/).
5. Customize ProtégéVOWL
The user interface of ProtégéVOWL is structured as follows (see Figure 2):
VOWL Viewer - displays the ontology visualization;
VOWL Sidebar - lists details about the selected element;
VOWL Controls - allow to adapt the force-directed graph layout.
The user interface can be customized with the small icons in the upper right of the views. The views can also be individually (de-)activated via the Window menu (Window → Views → Ontology views → VOWL Controls/Sidebar/Viewer).
The source code of ProtégéVOWL is publicly available on GitHub.
Read more about ProtégéVOWL in the following demo paper:
Copyright (c) 2014 David Bold, Steffen Lohmann, Stefan Negru
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