OwlEd for MaMaS

An OWL Manager for the Match Maker Service

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Design Principles
OwlEd is a Multi Platform OWL editor/manager written entirely in Java. It is freely distributed as a standalone application. OwlEd allows either to edit an existing OWL file or to write it entirely from scratch, as well as to interact with DIG 1.1 compliant reasoners, e.g., MaMaS-tng or Racer.

The basic principles for the design and development of OwlEd follow the user-centric approach coming from usability engineering principles. From the users' point of view, the User Interface (UI) is the system. Therefore, if the UI is usable, they see the entire system as usable. The goal of a UI is to hide the complexity of the underlying language syntax and semantics and modeling. In this case: OWL ontology modeling, OWL syntax and semantics in order to create significant opportunities for rapid and effective semantic information representation. A fully graphical approach is then needed.

Use of an UI is affected by many factors. These include: how many information are presented on a screen, how a screen is organized, the language used on the screen, the distinctiveness of the screen's components, its aesthetics, and a screen's consistency with other screens[ W. O. Galitz, 2002]. Hence, one of the goals in OwlEd UI development was the information organization, so that the user can easy find and understand all the specified informations about an object within a target ontology.

In a graphical user interface, pointing devices are more efficient than keyboard. A simple and easy-to-use mouse interface is important. In OwlEd , drag and drop is supported also during the composition of nested class expressions. In this way it is very easy and fast to edit more complex semantic definitions without any keyboard interaction. Drag and drop is also supported in all the areas where an ontology object is shown, i.e. class hierarchy area, assertion area, class list and so on.

Integrating an application into the Desktop environment is an important step in creating a product. Since users are already familiar with the Desktop, they have known expectations about how applications should look and behave in the Desktop environment. By integrating an application into the Desktop, these expectations can be easily met. Look and feel includes such things as the icons used to represent functions such as opening and closing files, directories and application programs and changing the size and position of windows; conventions for the meaning of different buttons on a mouse and keys on the keyboard; and the appearance and operation of menus. We adopted operating system native look and feel for OwlEd. However it is also possible to change default look and feel by coding it in a OwlEd plug-in. For Desktop integration, a great importance has been given also to contextual menus. In OwlEd it is possible to use a contextual menu to copy/cut/paste elements within the tool.

Differently from other existing editors OwlEd has been developed natively for OWL.

Copyright (C) 2012 SisInf Research Group All rights reserved.