Friday, October 26, 2007

My FOAF network #1: the FOAFExplorer

In this series I will introduce the technologies behind my FOAF network. FOAF means Friend-of-a-Friend and
    [t]he Friend of a Friend (FOAF) project is creating a Web of machine-readable pages describing people, the links between them and the things they create and do.

My FOAF file (draft) will give you details on who I am, who I collaborate with (and other types of friends), which conferences I am attending, what I published etc. That is, I'll try to keep it updated. BTW, FOAF is a RDF language.

Pierre has done some excellent FOAF work in the past, and developed the MyFOAFExplorer, and also developed a tool to create a FOAF network based on the PubMed database, called SciFOAF. The latter is neat, but does not allow putting all this personal details in the FOAF files. However, the output could be a starting point.

Back to FOAFExplorer, this is what the FOAFExplorer shows for my network:

I'm a bit lonely, even though I have linked to two friends in my FOAF file, of which one has a FOAF file too (Henry):
<foaf:Person rdf:ID="HenryRzepa">
<foaf:name>Henry Rzepa</foaf:name>
<rdfs:seeAlso rdf:resource=""/>
<foaf:Person rdf:ID="PeterMurrayRust">
<foaf:name>Peter Murray-Rust

I guess the FOAFExplorer does not browse into my network. More on that in later items in this series.


  1. Hi Egon and thank you for using those oooold tools :-)
    I create both tools when I had a little knowledge of RDF and I was a poor java/swing developper. You should have a look at my own RDF file to see how it was formatted to make it works in MyFoafExplorer ( For example, I think that all foaf:Person should be under the rdf:RDF node. I whish I could have time to re-write a new unified version of explorer/scifoaf.


  2. Egon, on Pierre's FOAF network people are using images as well. Beside, is this not ways more complicated than using e.g. Plaxo?

    I think Plaxo is at the moment one of the best networking sites, since it combines a lot of functionality from GoogleCalender, Facebook, LinkedIn, XING, and integrates blog posts automatically, as well as many other things.

    Anyway, I tried accessing your XML defniition, but got an error. I will try later again and will maybe create one myself. But, again, is this all not more complicated than just using an established networking site?

  3. Joerg, my FOAF does not have images associated with the foaf:Person's.

    Social websites will increasingly use FOAF to publish content, I think. Including Plaxo:

  4. A hidden feature ;-) Great! Can you use this for your/Pierre's viewer, too? This would be great then I could use the edit functions in Plaxo, but you could use the FOAF !

  5. Joerg, I think Pierre's applet does not recurse into linked FOAF files; so, I don't think that will work...

    But if you give me the full link, I can at least add it as rdfs:seeAlso to my FOAF file.