Fresnel - Display Vocabulary for RDF

This site provides an overview of the Fresnel display vocabulary being developed by participants of the Semantic Web Interest Group. Fresnel is a simple, browser-independent vocabulary for specifying how RDF graphs are presented.



Presenting Semantic Web content in a human-readable way consists in addressing two issues: specifying what information contained in an RDF graph should be presented and how this information should be presented. Each RDF browser or visualization tool currently relies on its own ad hoc mechanisms and vocabularies for addressing these issues, making it impossible to share RDF presentation knowledge across applications. Recognizing the general need for displaying RDF content and wanting to avoid reinventing the wheel with each new tool, we developed Fresnel as a browser-independent vocabulary of core RDF display concepts applicable across different representation paradigms and output formats.

Fresnel's two foundational concepts are lenses and formats. Lenses define which properties of an RDF resource, or group of related resources, are displayed and how those properties are ordered. Formats determine how resources and properties are rendered and provide hooks to existing styling languages such as CSS.

Like CSS, Fresnel is designed as a purely declarative language. The Fresnel vocabulary is split into modules for allowing browsers to support limited but well-defined subsets of the language.

Fresnel is licensed under the terms of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) license.


Vocabulary and Documentation

Fresnel documentation:

The Fresnel vocabulary is split into four modules defined by:

There are also informative versions of the vocabularies using N3 syntax: core.owl.n3, extended.owl.n3.

The extended vocabularies require additional datatypes as defined in fresnel-datatypes.xsd.

For a brief, informative introduction to Fresnel, see the presentation given in July 2006.



Fresnel is being implemented by the following RDF browsers:

Low-level Fresnel APIs for implementing Fresnel-aware applications are also available:


How to contribute?

Fresnel is open for everybody to participate and contribute. The primary discussion forum for Fresnel is the Fresnel mailing list (archives, older archives). You can contribute to Fresnel by

You may also find some of us for real time chat on the IRC server in #simile.




Timeline: Events, Discussions and Publications