While OWL and RDF enable machines to process information, this information becomes hard to read for human users. To avoid that a machine-readable and a human-readable version of the same information has to be made available, we developed X3S (XSL-transformed SPARQL-results and Semantic Stylesheets). X3S is a format for describing semantic stylesheets. A semantic stylesheet is a template that can be applied to a semantic data source and leads to a filtered and styled subset of this data as a result. The goal is to transform semantic data into human-readable and exchangeable HTML documents. X3S defines a workflow that requests data from a SPARQL endpoint, restructures the result into a hierarchical XML structure, transforms this structure via XSLT into HTML and styles the HTML document with CSS.

In order to create, edit, and preview X3S files, we developed an editor based on Adobe Flex. The editor runs in web browsers with flash capabilities and can make use of existing semantic data repositories that provide a SPARQL interface. In order to enable non-technical users to create and maintain stylesheets, we use point-and-click interactions instead of complex text-based directives. Users can drag-and-drop available properties from a list into the working area. If a datatype property is added to the template, it can be styled or additional filters can be applied. Object properties can be nested inside the template, so that a hierarchical structure can be created. After the template has been created, it can be exported as an X3S file or archived as an HTML document.

Note that the X3S editor currently does not support MS Internet Explorer.


  • Flash

Further information

Related research topic


Jürgen Ziegler

Full Professor


Timo Stegemann

Former team member


Interactive Construction of Semantic Widgets for Visualizing Semantic Web Data

Interacting with semantic data by using X3S