After hours: Making a FOAF profile for your homepage (part A: the tools)

FOAF is a data schema for describing personal data on the Web and is one of the most known in the Semantic Web world. Basically, its a way to publish information about yourself on the web in form of pure data, just like im doing on this webpage of mine but readable for machines! How to do it and why ? Read on!

Part A: The Tools

So far I’ve only had a FOAF file hosted at my old workplace but now I thought that like every normal(tm) person I should put it up on my homepage. This time tho, apart of the regular personal details I wanted to include all the other data from my page so: publications, projects, link to cv and so on. Simple ? Not as much as you might wish. Here are some tools I’ve tried to make it faster then writing the RDF code by hand:

1st try: Protege. Import the foaf ontology, make the instances and fill out the forms, and thats it! …..but wait not really. Its not too user friendly even for somebody who knows more or less all the Semantic Web technologies…

2nd try: TopQuadrant Composer. Same story, import the ontology, make the instances and…damn its exactly the same story…just a little bit less confusing.

3rd try: Dedicated user friendly apps. So I abandoned the ontology design tools for more simple stuff. Ye some work(tm) and some are even quite nice looking but they kind of don’t let fill out all that I wanted (read projects, publications..). So maybe some other time.

4rd try: “reuse, reuse, reuse”. So finally I’ve decided not to trouble myself with any tools and go back to the stone age and write everything by hand…well almost.

Recipe for writing your own FOAF profile fast(tm): google out a known (Semantic Web) person/geek , download his FOAF file and modify it in an xml editor. It took 30min vs. 3 hours or so trying to find a nice app 🙂

Here’s my profile.

ps. I used Wikier’s (aka Sergio Fernández) profile to make my own. Cheers mate!
ps2. If you are waiting for a earlier promised “why to make your foaf profile”. I have to disapoint you. If you are a regular person that does not have much to do with Semantic Web, then to my knowledge there is absolutly no reasonable practical cause why one should make his FOAF profile…not yet at least.