Thursday, May 15, 2008

Real Web 2.0: Practical Linked, Open Data with SIMILE Exhibit

Uche Ogbuji, IBM developerWorks

SIMILE (Semantic Interoperability of Metadata and Information in unLike Environments) is a research project developing tools to share diverse collections of data and digital media. SIMILE is a joint project of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the W3C, and it has produced some real gems. One of these is Exhibit, which allows you to produce Web pages with widgets the user can use to quickly comb through large collections of data. Exhibit makes this easy and requires little programming. It is developed by David Huynh, with contributions from others on the SIMILE team. This article explains how the Exhibit Web library allows you to construct functional and visually attractive user interfaces without much work, once you have good 'LOD' available. Linking Open Data (LOD) is a community initiative for moving the Web from separated documents to a broad information space of data. The principles of LOD are very important, but when a Web developer has a deadline looming it's not always easy to put "important" into perspective. Exhibit is one of those tools that takes a grand idea and uses it to actually make a developer's life easier. If you have a collection of information and you need to present it to users so they can easily see it in context and find details they care about, take advantage of the large head start Exhibit offers.

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