___— title: “On the topic of Tools” layout: default — People often wonder why languages such as Java still are so prevalent in the world, I’d argue a good part of it is the tools. Java IDEs and the compilers have been around for years, for IDEs alone I can think of 3 major competitors that all work well. Swift is very successful because it is well backed by Apple with Xcode and the existing toolchains, without it I’d imagine Objective-C would have lost very little to Swift.
In my research, Ontologies, the tools are terrible at best; we have Protege which crashes, has a terrible UI that changes every year when they decide to rename tools and move things for no particular reason, worst of all though, it has no real competitors either. Many would say, “but you could just use a text editor” and they are right but why not have tools that make one’s life easier, checking things and ensuring the you never make the mistake in the first place. For some people an IDE is a must and if you want to capture these people you need to give them the tools. Honestly, a text editor is the screwdriver of computer science you can use it for a lot things but in reality it’s designed for one thing, and it doesn’t extend well to more advanced uses.
For code there exists compilers, for Ontologies you at best have a reasoner but there is no easy way to run them without a software package making the problem even worse since consistency is key. In ontologies like programming languages there seems to be a new flavour language of the month but so many never develop the tools to make it appealing to make the jump; why doesn’t anyone ever work on this stuff?
This makes me wonder if the reason why ontologies are abandoned and aren’t used more often is due to the lack of tools and the quality of those that exist similar to that of programming languages the are developed, exist but never thrive.