I've been programming in rules and logic for a long time. I've seen some of the best talents in visual debugging, psychology of programming and information presentation tackle the problem of presenting debugging information for logical programs. I was sure there was nothing new under the sun.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending a day at The MIND Lab at "Semantic Boot Camp" - a sort of "masters class" for people who want to delve into the details, technical, political and historical - of the Semantic Web. Aditya Kalyanpur proved me wrong.
His dissertation work on OWL debugging in SWOOP isn't cool. It isn't even fantastic. Incredible gets close; no, it is simply mind-blowing. In a half-hour user study, SWOOP (with "black box" and "glass box" debugging modes) allowed me to debug ontology problems that would have taken days or weeks with other methods. And I'm pretty vain about my debugging skills. SWOOP blows away anything I can do on my own.
The version I tested doesn't seem to be the same on that's on the SWOOP download page at the very moment I am writing this, but it will be ready for release soon.
This is more than a breakthrough - this is a new solution to an old problem, that cracks one of the hard nuts for OWL adoption.
If you read this, Mr. Kalyanpur, let it be known that I officially hate you. I hate you like I hate Fred Astaire, for making it look so easy. I hate you for making a skill that I have worked long and hard on into a commodity. I hate you for making me no longer feel special. Good job.