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The State Of Semantic Web Tools: Open Source Still Dominates And Tool Growth Forecast To Level Off

by Naresh Sarwan on December 13, 2011

The AI3 blog has an article that reviews the state of Semantic Web tools.  The key findings are:

  • There are now over 1000 tools available.
  • The number of tools has increased by 17% in the last 6 months.
  • 75 tools have been abandoned or retired: the highest figure since the figures were first compiled.
  • Over 80% of the tools are open source and a further 9% are on-line only. This means proprietary apps account for approximately 10% of the semantic web tools available.
  • SPARQL, ontology related tools and linked data have seen the most growth.
  • Java is the most prevalent development language
It has to be pointed out the Semantic Web has a relatively academic background so that technologies like Java and licences such as Open Source dominate is not a total surprise (the nature of the subject matter also makes transparency an important characteristic). The article has some further analysis of the figures also:


I have said this before, and been wrong about it before, but it is hard to see the tooling growth curve continue at its current slope into the future. I think we will see many individual tools spring up on the open source hosting sites like Google and Github, perhaps at relatively the same steady release rate. But, old projects I think will increasingly be abandoned and older projects will not tend to remain available for as long a time. While a relatively few established open source standards, like Solr and Jena, will be the exception, I think we will see shorter shelf lives for most open source tools moving forward. This will lead to a younger tools base than was the case five or more years ago.  I also think we will continue to see the dominance of open source. Proprietary software has increasingly been challenged in the enterprise space. And, especially in semantic technologies, we tend to see many open source tools that are as capable as proprietary ones, and generally more dynamic as well. The emphasis on open data in this environment also tends to favor open source.” [Read More]


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