WebVOWL is a web application for the interactive 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. Interaction techniques allow to explore the ontology and to customize the visualization. The VOWL visualizations are automatically generated from JSON files into which the ontologies need to be converted. A Java-based OWL2VOWL converter is provided along with WebVOWL.
Note that WebVOWL is able to visualize most language constructs of OWL 2 but not all of them yet (and also not all combinations). For instance, complex datatypes and some instance level constructs are not supported by WebVOWL at the moment.
A custom ontology can be visualized by opening the Ontology menu and either entering the IRI of the ontology or uploading the ontology file. The size of the ontology files that can be visualized is limited to 10MB in the public WebVOWL installation.
Note that converted ontologies are neither saved nor cached on the server. However, they are cached in the web browser to allow for a more fluent interaction. If you want to convert a custom ontology another time, simply hit the reload button of your web browser.
To run WebVOWL on your machine, download and unpack the following ZIP file:
Download WebVOWL (version 1.0.6) ↓ (~175 KB)
Simply open the HTML file in the extracted folder to execute WebVOWL.
Note that the conversion of ontologies into the VOWL-JSON format is not part of WebVOWL but requires an additional converter such as OWL2VOWL. See the JSON template if you would like to edit an existing VOWL-JSON file or create your own.
To run the OWL2VOWL converter on your machine, download and unpack the following ZIP file:
Download OWL2VOWL (beta 0.3.3) ↓ (~9 MB)
Execute the JAR file with the following command (where 'Ontology IRI' is the IRI of the ontology you would like to convert into the VOWL-JSON format):
java -jar owl2vowl.jar -iri "[Ontology IRI]"
For instance, the following command converts the FOAF vocabulary into the JSON file required for WebVOWL:
java -jar owl2vowl.jar -iri "http://xmlns.com/foaf/spec/"
The converter is based on the OWL API, which can handle various OWL formats (RDF/XML, OWL/XML, Turtle, etc.). It requires at least Java 8 and comes with a README file that lists further conversion modes.
There is also a WAR file containing a bundle of both OWL2VOWL and WebVOWL for easy deployment on a Tomcat server:
If you do not use the bundled WAR, you need a server component that links WebVOWL with the OWL2VOWL converter (e.g., a simple PHP script).
The source codes of both WebVOWL and OWL2VOWL are publicly available on GitHub:
Release history of WebVOWL:
Read more about WebVOWL in the following paper:
WebVOWL and OWL2VOWL are both released under the MIT license.
Copyright (c) 2014-2017 Vincent Link, Steffen Lohmann, Eduard Marbach, Stefan Negru, Vitalis Wiens
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