Category Archives: Semantic Web

The Smell of Spring…

“Progress comes from the intelligent use of experience.” — Elbert Hubbard

+ When it comes to examination, stress is always introducing himself as a representative. This is even worse when you think it might be your last exam! However, when you have a big support on the other side of the pitch, all the negative parts of stress will vanish and you’d feel like now it is your turn!

+ To be honest, I’d never expected that someday I go that far to receive a PhD degree in computer engineering! I started to enter the field of software engineering because I loved Web, 3D animations and computer games. I remember the feeling I had when I designed my first Website using Adobe PageMill! WYSIWYG for HTML code authoring was amazing….And now after about 15 years, WYSIWYM comes into place! It’s always scary and at the same time provocative and promising when you observe the progress of the Web…

+ The mission is accomplished! I defended my PhD on 26.1.2015 with the grade magna cum laude (i.e. “with great honor”). On my path to receive this degree, I’ve been very lucky and thankful to have prof. Sören Auer as my supervisor and also as a good friend who supported me a lot and gave me the freedom to explore my ideas. I hope I can still keep on collaboration with him…

+ I got a big surprise after my defense! A very nice hat which was very artistically designed by Bita and was reflecting all my PhD contributions and concerns. I should thank Bita a lot for her great support and kindness :) I hope we will soon celebrate her PhD defense as well…

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Preview release of RDFaCE special edition for

During the last weeks I was working hard on the next release of RDFaCE . RDFaCE implements the WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean) concept in order to facilitate the process of semantic content authoring.RDFaCE

The new version of RDFaCE is focused on . You can create RDFa or Microdata annotations based on the schemas defined by It will help to improve the SEO of your Website.

The main features of this new version include*:


*Of course it is only a preview release and might have some bugs.Please report the possible bugs using our issue tracker. As our next step, we will integrate the functionality of previous versions of RDFaCE with support for

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Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. –Jimi Hendrix

+ I am still working on SlideWiki platform. We have already started importing some popular and high quality Semantic Web lecture series into SlideWiki. We also have plan to create the corresponding translations in at least 10 other languages (For example Persian). The mobile version of SlideWiki is just started and is under progress. We hope that SlideWiki will enable Many people in the world to access to high quality educational material. If you also want to help us in creating great educational resources:

  • Look for decks at SlideWiki, whose domain you know
  • Review the content of decks and help improving them
  • Add self-assessment questions to the slides
  • Translate decks covering topics you know well into your mother tongue
  • Look for existing presentations and e-learning material, which could be imported into SlideWiki

+ How is SlideWiki different?

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Pharmer: a semantic prescription writer

Pharmer is a tool which implements the general idea of WYSIWYM UI (introduced in RDFaCE) in a specific domain namely Pharmaceutical research and development. Using Pharmer, users can generate Semantic Prescriptions —  intelligent e-prescription documents enriched by drug-related meta-data thereby know about their content and the possible interactions.

Semantic Prescriptions provide the following main benefits for their  users:

  • Increase the awareness of patients. They provide patients with all the related information of the prescribed drugs thereby mitigating the possible misuse of drugs.
  • Provide persistent connection to up-to-date drug information coming from multiple dynamic data sources available on Linked Open Data.
  • In contrast to database-oriented e-prescriptions, semantic prescriptions can easily be exchanged among other e-health systems without need to changing their related infrastructure.

The Pharmer implementation is open-source and available for download together with an explanatory video and online demo.

More information: eTELEMED2013 paper, Pharmer Poster


RDFaCE-Lite is a lite version of RDFaCE which is customized especially to address the requirements of non-expert users in the process of Semantic Content Authoring.

With RDFaCE-Lite it is really easy to create and publish linked data posts.  It supports rNews 1.0 standard for embedding meta-data about Places, Persons and Organizations in the text.

Users can select RDFa or Microdata (based on as their preferered annotation markup.

Users can also select from a list of available NLP APIs and automatically annotate their content by one click!

A demo version is available at:

You can download the WordPress plugin from here.

Tools available for semantic blogging…

With the proliferation of Semantic Web technologies  2012 seems to be a promising year for SemWeb. Particularly in the area of Semantic Blogging, there are already many tools released which show the applicability of the SemWeb to make the life easier for lay users as well as experts. Below is an overview of three popular tools available for semantic blogging in WordPress:

  • veeebeditor For WordPress:  a Flash-based semantic blogging tool which analyzes your blog post in real time and provides you with contextual information for the most important concepts found in the text.
    • +: a user friendly interface with support for faceted viewing, a powerful media manager.
    • - : not yet compatible with WordPress 3.3.1 (last version), do not embed annotations in the text for publishing, not acts well on HTML content (good for raw text).
  • Zemanta:  a very popular semantic blogging widget which recommends related content to the users to be inserted in the blog posts.
    • +:  a powerful user interface which is well integrated into the WordPress, adds links to the recognized entities, also available as a  browser extension.
    •  - : a limited support of RDFa for publishing linked data, grouping content for faceted viewing is not supported.
  • RDFaCE:  a WordPress plugin for automatic annotation of content based on the RDFa format which can be used as a complementary tool for the above tools.
    • +: can combine the results of multiple NLP APIs for automatic annotation, adds RDFa annotatations to be published on your blog
    •  -: do not support faceted viewing of entities recognized, do not provide contextual information for the entities found.

RDFaCE WordPress plugin

WordPress  uses TinyMCE as its content editor. So, we can easily intergarte RDFaCE into it for the purpose of semantic content authoring. With the integration of RDFaCE into WordPress, the availability of semantically annotated content on the Web would be substantially increased. It can be one step toward the Web of data…

You can download RDFaCE plugin for WordPress from here.

For more information please refer to : RDFaCE project page

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RDFaCE– Put a Smile on the Face of Semantic Content Authoring

In his influential paper “The Computer for the 21st Century” Mark Weiser talks about making machines fit the human environment instead of forcing humans to enter the machine’s environment. He notes, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”

When it comes to semantic content authoring the main question is how to  facilitate this process by removing the gap between content creation and content annotation. There are a lot of tools available for embedding semantic annotations within the Web content but one of the main obstacles  seen in promoting semantic content is the lack of intuitive and user-friendly semantic authoring tools.

  RDFaCE  (RDFa Content Editor ) is an online text editor based on TinyMCE. It supports authoring of RDFa content. In addition to two classical views for text authoring (WYSIWYG and Source Code view) , RDFaCE  supports two novel views for semantic content authoring namely WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean) and Triple view (aka. Fact View). WYSIWYM view aims at displaying semantic annotaions on top of classical WYSIWYG view which is ubiqutous among people on the Web. It uses dynamic CSS stylesheets to distinguish semantic content from normal content. Triple view is another semantic view which only shows the facts (triples) stated in the text. RDFaCE provides a syncronizatiion between these four views so that changing in one view causes to change in the other views. Another feature supported in RDFaCE which empowers it in comparing to existing semantic editors is combining the results of multiple NLP APIs to facilitate semantic authoring process. This feature provides an initial set of annotations for users that can be modified and extended by them. a demo version of RDFaCE is available at For more informatiion you can visit here.

Tagged , , : where business and academia could meet!

Recently Bing, Google and Yahoo! made an agreement to rely on a standard markup to improve the display of their search results, thereby making it easier for people to find the right web pages. They chose Microdata as annotation format to embed the types and properties of the content within the web pages. Microdata  is a new feature supported in HTML 5 which provides a mechanism to allow machine-readable data to be embedded in HTML documents in an easy-to-write manner, with an unambiguous parsing model. aims at providing  a shared collection of schemas that webmasters can use for their Microdata markup.

That sounds a great news. It can be considered as a step towards realizing the semantic web. Then, what is the problem?!

There has been a long discussion in semantic web mailing list about this new announcement. Some people do agree on it as a progress to promote the semantic web efforts and some people criticize it  as a new revenue model for the web monsters. In this post I wanted to publish my thoughts about approach.

The first question which comes to my mind in this context is: Why Microdata? Why not RDFa or either Microformat?

It looks great that three frontier companies on the web have come to a consensus. I really like and appreciate it. It is a moment that rarely can be seen on a tough competition unless there is  a win-win benefit out of it. But I believe doing a job well is better than doing just a good job when there is an opportunity. About choosing Microdata not RDFa or microformats, they mention:

“Focusing on microdata was a pragmatic decision. Supporting multiple syntaxes makes documentation for webmasters more complex and introduces more overhead in terms of defining new formats. Microformats are concise and easy to understand, but they don’t offer an open extensibility mechanism and the reuse of the class tag can cause conflicts with website CSS. RDFa is extensible and very expressive, but the substantial complexity of the language has contributed to slower adoption. Microdata is the most recent well-known standard, created along with HTML5. It strikes a balance between extensibility and simplicity, and is most suitable for building the Google and Yahoo! have in the past supported both microformats and RDFa for certain schemas and will continue to support these syntaxes for those schemas. We will also be monitoring the web for RDFa and microformats adoption and if they pick up, we will look into supporting these syntaxes.”

I don’t think it is a good reasoning for a pragmatic decision. Simple is not always the better! As Samuel says, while there are a number of technical merits that speak in favor of RDFa over Microformats and Microdata (fully qualified vocabulary terms, prefix short-hand via CURIEs, accessibility-friendly, unified processing rules, etc. please take a look at this to see that RDFa is not really so complicated!), the main point is realizing of centralized innovation vs. distributed innovation. The web has always relied on distributed innovation and RDFa allows that sort of innovation to continue by solving the tenable problem of a semantics expression mechanism. Microdata has no such general purpose solution. Although it can facilitate one specific problem like searching data, it is not well scalable with the vision of semantic web. as a centralized solution for web of data is really in conflict with the vision of making benefit out of distributed information islands. I wish they could make a better decision to speed up realizing a web of knowledge!

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Symfony and Semantic Web

After completing the theory of my master thesis, I was looking for a quick solution to implement it. Since I had some good experiences with Symfony framework, I finally decided to utilize it for implementing my master project.

 My project consists of three technologies: Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Web 2.0 and Semantic Web. It aims to find a common point between these technologies to make creation of enterprise mashups semi-automatically. Web 2.0 has a wealth of data but poor semantics and difficult integration. On the other hand, While Semantic Web solves the integration problem issue but suffers from a dearth of users. Combining these two technologies will result in a rich Web of data that is usable by both humans and machines. In my research I found out that RESTful web services are the key to this solution. REST-based architecture puts a smiley on SOA, thereby makes it more practical to be used by non-professional users. I proposed an annotation mechanism for RESTful services. The next step was implementing a mashup editor that supports my proposed model. In this step I used Symfony 1.2 that has a good support of REST architecture in conjunction with pOWL. pOWL is a Web Based Platform for Collaborative Semantic Web Development. It consists of 6 stacked tiers:

  • pOWL store – SQL compatible relational database backend
  •  RDFAPI, RDFSAPI, OWLAPI – layered APIs for handling RDF, RDF-Schema (RDFS) and OWL
  • pOWL API – containing classes and functions to build web applications on top of those APIs
  • User interface – a set of PHP pages combining widgets provided by pOWL API for accessing (browsing, viewing, editing) model data in a pOWL store

Although I encountered some problems using PUT and DELETE methods of HTTP, but the final result was great. I could finish my project at three weeks thanks to good and useful Symfony plug-ins. The most time-consuming part was integrating pOWL into Symfony that was done approximately well. I called my mashup editor “SemCEM“. I have not released it yet, but I have some plans in near future to publish a demo version on ………………………………………………………………………………………………….


+ Unfortunately thanks to assistant chair of our faculty plus some uninvited issues, my defense session for master degree was postpones to September!

+ My paper entitled “ Using an Enterprise Mashup Infrastructure for Just-in-Time Management of Situational Projects ” was accepted in IEEE International Conference on e-Business Engineering (ICEBE 2009). I am planning to have a trip to China to present it if possible.

 + In August I will have a trip to Amsterdam to make some important decisions for my future!

+ Besides many disappointing side effects of Iran Elections, I had this chance to be familiar with Parsatech Group, an active group with great ideas in IT.


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