A big, shiny RDF robot


by Damian Steer

Download Application (Mac OS X) Download Application (cross-platform - Java Swing) Download Source Tutorials Changelog Downloads


RDFAuthor is a tool designed to ease the pain of creating rdf instance data. Authoring is largely a matter of dragging in data and binding it together using a graphical interface.

See the tutorial which demonstrates the authoring process. Warning: Contains large images (and nut traces).

RDFAuthor is free software, released under the GNU General Public Licence. It uses the Apache AXIS library and the HPL Jena toolkit.


Changed the email address at the top. My old hotmail account gets so much spam you'd be lucky to get noticed.
Big changes - why haven't I made a release in so long? Anyway, the nice things are:
Minor bug fix. Loading documents from old versions (single selection) would fail if the document had an empty selection. Now fixed.
New release (see downloads).
The new version has been hanging around in CVS for rather too long (for compicated reasons), but features many improvements. In no particular order these include:
Finally added a 'News' section ;-)
New version released. This release sees a change to the file format, but it will load old documents.
The exciting new features are: rdf/xml import, auto layout, svg and tiff export. Ok, tiffs aren't that useful but they meant Libby and I could get an ILRT tshirt made. SVG example output can be found here. This also demonstrates the simple auto-layout.


RDFAuthor was written using Java and Apple's Cocoa framework. That basically means Mac OS X only. This was largely because Cocoa is easy, making my lame app easy to write.

If that annoys you then you could:

  1. Port the application to GNUStep (using JIGS) which would allow Windows and Unix users to use it. I'd like that as well, since GNUStep is a worthy project (and I could run it on my own machine).
  2. Do a Java Swing interface. Trickier, but the application is pretty much MVC - unfortunately not entirely, but the node and arc drawing routines are trivial.
  3. Buy Mac OS X.
NOTE: David Allsopp has produced a Swing version (read: cross platform) version of RDFAuthor. It isn't complete, but this should give non-mac people hope. Thanks to David for this. You can see a screenshot of the two versions side by side. It is available in Downloads.

Credit where credit is due...

This app would be useless if it weren't for Jena, so, unless you object to features like XML exports and schema imports, credit is due to Brian McBride et al.

In addition I should mention:


The application itself is here. This shouldn't cause your machine any harm, but bear in mind it is alpha software and I really can't be held responsible for any badness that results. You're on your own.

The source code can be found here.

Please read the file 'COPYING' for licence details. For the binary distribution this can be found in RDFAuthor.app/Contents/Resources/ (as can the axis and jena licences). This is free software.

Feature Bloat

Here, in order of personal preference, are suggested features which might be added:
  1. PDF, EPS, and SVG export. UPDATE: All done - plus TIFF
  2. N-Triple and N3 export. UPDATE: Done - but Jena doesn't seem to do N3 yet (?).
  3. Queries. That is: you fill out a model, but mark some nodes (maybe arcs?) as unknown. The query returns data that fits. UPDATE: Done
  4. RDF import. Probably hard, since positioning will be a pain. We shall see. UPDATE: Done
  5. Various ports suggested above. UPDATE: Swing port is working.
  6. 3D fly through with marauding aliens and cool weapons.

Damian Steer
Last modified: Sat Aug 2 11:11:34 BST 2003