WebVOWL: Web-based Visualization of Ontologies

VOWL Specification »

WebVOWL is a web application 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. 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.

WebVOWL demo (beta 0.5.2) »

Note that VOWL 2 considers most language constructs of OWL but not all of them yet.

Screenshot of WebVOWL

A custom ontology can be visualized by opening the Ontology menu and either entering the IRI of the ontology or uploading the ontology file.

Screenshot of WebVOWL

Note that converted ontologies are not saved or cached on the server (only the IRIs are logged for development and debugging purposes). 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.


Linking

A custom ontology can also be visualized by appending its IRI to the URL of WebVOWL. For instance, the following URL requests the visualization of the FOAF vocabulary:

http://vowl.visualdataweb.org/webvowl/#iri=http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/

This is the easiest way to share a VOWL visualization or to integrate it with another tool. Note that the dynamically generated visualizations will look different due to the force-directed layout. A stable VOWL visualization can currently only be shared by exporting it to SVG or printing it as a PDF file.


Installation

WebVOWL

To run WebVOWL on your machine, download and unpack the following ZIP file:

Download WebVOWL (beta 0.5.2) ↓ (~0.1MB)

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 template if you would like to edit an existing VOWL-JSON file or create your own.

OWL2VOWL

To run the OWL2VOWL converter on your machine, download and unpack the following ZIP file:

Download OWL2VOWL (beta 0.2.0) ↓ (~4.5MB)

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 6 and comes with a README file that lists further conversion modes.


Sources

The source code of WebVOWL and OWL2VOWL is publicly available on GitHub:


Releases

Release history of WebVOWL:


Demo Paper

Read more about WebVOWL in the following paper:

Lohmann, S.; Link, V.; Marbach, E.; Negru, S.: WebVOWL: Web-Based Visualization of Ontologies. Proceedings of EKAW 2014 Satellite Events, LNAI 8982, pp. 154-158, Springer, 2015. [BibTex]


License

WebVOWL and OWL2VOWL are both released under the MIT license.

Copyright (c) 2014/15 Vincent Link, Steffen Lohmann, Eduard Marbach, Stefan Negru

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.