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Semantic Web Development

August 5th, 2018

Semantic Web Modelling Centre of Excellence

Introduction

Semantic Web Development and dealing with complexity is a tricky issue. Representing information is a problem where complexity can preclude any single approach. In order to find our way around large quantities of information it needs to be structured. But the information already exists and is still being created, so this makes it a moving target.

I’m sure such matters will be covered at the www2006 conference at Edinburgh 23-26 May http://www2006.org/. Kurt Cagle refers to this in his article on complexity on his Understanding XML blog at http://www.understandingxml.com/.

The structuring of ontologies from the top down can be useful, but can only be achieved where the ontology developers have some control over the information. Much of web development and other creation of information is bottom up, in that there is no controlling authority. This is good for inclusiveness and speed of development, and something that encourages community, and encourages individuals to create their own content, which is a good thing. In his interview with the British Computer Society Tim Berners-Lee http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/blog/4 answers a question on ontologies. He talks of a top level ontology that can be created to hold certain terms and the need to find out who is using these terms, so that other web pages and databases can be categorised. This would be achieved using URIs (Universal Resource Identifier) and RDF (Resource Description Framework). In answer to what Tim Berners-Lee hopes to achieve, he talks of this bottom up development that is going on, using blogs, and wikis etc and a possible approach of ‘web science’ – ‘the science and engineering of web based things that have a bottom up Web-like structure’.

I think this approach is highly relevant to my PhD research on user-driven programming, with University of the West of England (UWE – Bristol). Not everyone has the time to learn programming especially if their main expertise is elsewhere. They then have to ask others to do the development for them and this leads to delays and mis-understandings. The approach advocated here could enable visual creation of software by members of a community. Members of this community would not need advanced programming skills if other members with more advanced development skills could create a suitable interface for the creation of software. This could be achieved in a similar way to that used in visual web page creation tools, or word processor and spreadsheet software. Also the members who do possess advanced skills could provide ways of sorting, searching and navigating the programs created using the visual development tools. Members could work with either or both groups, according to their skills and interests.

A good first step would be to link communities and sites that have a mix of those with advanced software skills who want to encourage and enable others to learn to program, and of new starters who want to learn. This could involve those who are willing to try out new techniques to make it easier for new starters to train learn and gain experience.

Sir Tim-Berners-Lee’s interview – http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.3337.

This talk by Nigel Shadbolt explains research about coping with diverse sources of information – http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.3043.

This article by Bill Thompson for the BBC technology site examines new developments in Web 2.0 technologies – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4842498.stm.

Best Website Design Companies – Web Developer Exposes the Myths About Website Design Companies

August 4th, 2018

It’s All Lies

How can you find the best website design companies? It’s not easy. Every client that has put out an RFP for a website can relate to the feeling that they are being lied to, perhaps deliberately mislead, or just that internet experts are one step removed from cure-all charlatans.

After countless hours reading or hearing website design companies talk about their “proven solutions,” “one-stop shop” capabilities, and case studies, you’ll often be more confused about the right direction than when you started.

Can’t they just talk to you in plain English?

Giants of Chaos

Clearly the best website design companies are online, right? Yet often researching it online doesn’t seem to help much. The Internet is a strange conglomeration of every form of organization known to man seeking to define the way information is exchanged for their benefit. From media mega-conglomerates, to Google, Apple and Microsoft, the giants of industry have a lot at stake in what appear to be inconsequential and arcane issues.

Anyone hanging out on Google News saw Apple’s spat with Adobe over Flash, and Facebook’s fight with the government over privacy.

Down in the trenches of the digital universe is the intrepid web developer – seeking to make the world a better place by shepherding you, Indiana Jones style, through the chaos to your own personal treasure trove of more sales and happier customers online.

Only this one is completely self-taught, and his biggest problem is that whatever he did yesterday needs a little update today, because the entire Internet got one little tweak that changed everything… again.

Websites aren’t Products

I love hearing businesses talk about how they need to “Get a new website.” It’s almost like listening to my sisters talk about shoes, or my brothers about video games.

We’ve come to see our websites as consumer products, needing a fashion update ever couple years.

Sadly the reality is much worse. The web is a living breathing entity that changes every day.

Most business websites, developed by your friendly neighborhood web provider, look nice on your computer when you signed the check, but are broken for 30% or more of your viewers who don’t happen to use Internet Explorer on Windows Vista. By the way, that percentage grows every month.

And while you’re at it, factor in that in about two short years, more people will be surfing the web on a phone then on a computer, and all the cool colorful whizbang you have on your site (or your entire site if it’s in flash) can’t even be seen.

Then go one step further. Google used to be about searching information that was posted on the web, you know, back when people posted articles on a topic and four years later you could still find them. Now, Google has updated their search system with Caffeine (yes, it’s literally called that), and now whatever is being tweeted about and shared on Facebook shows up. Whatever isn’t shared, doesn’t register.

Top that all off with the fact that every year having an up-to-date website that meets customers expectations grows in importance for a business’s survival, and it’s no wonder that even little non-profits are flocking to seminars trying to understand what Twitter can do to save puppies.

Power to the People I’ve worked as a web developer for over a decade, working as everything from a Senior Technology Consultant to the Fortune 500 to freelance digital wingman for the local general contractor. I have an obsession with business growth through technology.

Everyone in this business likes to say they have the edge, obviously, but often they only have one piece of the puzzle. Once you understand the puzzle that is the web, you’ll know the dirty little secret of our industry and more importantly, how to make sure it doesn’t bite your business you know where. Knowing these secrets will help you find the absolute best website design companies.

Design, Development, Communication

There are three types of creatures needed to create a website:

1. Designer: someone who knows how to make things look pretty, or at least how to prevent it from looking like a used-car lot.

2. Development: research has shown that if someone comes to your site and it doesn’t work, they will never return. Hopefully, this guy isn’t just making your site do something cool, but also making sure it actually keeps on doing.

3. Communication: PR and Marketing are still battling it out to determine who should decide what is communicated on the web, but suffice it to say, they both probably have more people skills than your designer and developer combined.

Without a clear, simple idea, translated into a visual image, with some buttons for your customers to push, you don’t have a website that can do its job. None of the above three creatures, by the way, understand each other.

Then add the rowdy cowboys to this triumvirate:

– Internet Marketing consultants: people who can either show they’ve increased someone’s sales online by at least 20% or they are just quoting Wikipedia to you and have no idea what they are talking about.

– Social Media consultants: see above.

These two represent the two things that give a website any reason to exist: search engines, and search through word of mouth – also known as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Now ask yourself, have you ever met a company that can show they are good at all the above?

No, You Can’t

That’s because making really good websites doesn’t make money for web design companies. Making what people ask for online is what makes web designers and developers money. PR and Marketing companies both know that as long as their customers aren’t losing money, and their competitors don’t offer lower prices, they’ll probably keep their jobs. The Internet Marketers and Social Media experts have to prove themselves every day, but what they do can be learned, taught to an intern, and then… “goodbye consultant.”

Easy Website Builder For Beginners And Pro Web Developers

August 3rd, 2018

Have you ever wanted to build a website for personal or business use without the constraints of website templates or the hassle of learning HTML, PHP, web development software, and the necessary learning curve involved? Have you ever been asked by potential clients or customers whether or not you have a website where they can find out more about you and the services you provide?

Nowadays if you do not have a website, you stand the chance of losing out on a lot of business, and potential customers may not look upon you as being “professional.” Likewise, for the individual who does not have a business per se, he or she stands the chance of amassing a vastly wider network of contacts through a personal website than the person who relies only on person-to-person network organizations.

Every business needs a website! It’s still surprising to see so many businesses that do not have a web presence. This is mainly due to a combination of economic and time factors. It may cost anywhere between $500 to $1500+ to hire a web designer to build a business site containing 1-10 pages of content. To build a site on your own requires time and some knowledge of web development skills. Seen in this light, it’s understandable that business owners procrastinate in this very important aspect of their business.

However, building a website has finally reached the 21st Century as far as ease of use and availability to the masses. An easy website builder tool is being released to the world allowing unprecedented ability for just about anyone to build their own website for personal and business use. Whether it’s the beginner who wants a one page website or the web developer putting together a hundred page business site, technology just took a huge jump with the advent of Site Rubix, the brainchild of Kyle and Carson of Wealthy Affiliate.

There is absolutely no HTML coding skills needed. Images, video, screen capture and content can be added quickly and easily. With simple click and drag features, websites can be designed the way you want it to look. There is also no need to go through the learning curve required to use Dreamweaver, Frontpage and other web development software.

Site Rubix is an easy website builder that has leveled the playing field in terms of online presence. With this latest in web technology, there is no reason whatsoever to go without a website for yourself and your business!