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August 04, 2010

First fully tested release of SMILA available

SMILA (SeMantic Information Logistics Architecture) is a Eclipse project that provides an extensible framework for building search applications to access unstructured information in the enterprise. It provides a integrated package based on Lucene that includes crawlers, connectors and the interfaces needed to manage it using existing infrastructure. The main goal of SMILA is to reduce the risk of investment and IT costs by providing a common development framework that can be used to build semantic applications and by standardizing a lot of the code.

SMILA attempts to provide economies of scale while providing the option to use highly specialized solutions or plug-ins as needed. It also provides the opportunity for a company to reuse interfaces from internal projects that use Lucene.

The first fully tested (to make certain there are no legal issues due to third party code) official release is available. Version 0.7 also adds Web Service API support and Solr integration (access to Apache Solr REST API). 

SMILA has been getting more German press (it was created by Empolis GmbH and Brox IT Solutions GmbH) in the last year but very little in this country. The last I spotted was as part of a 25 minute talk on Searching the Cloud - the EclipseRT Umbrella! at EclipseCon 2010 in March.

Version 0.9 is scheduled for November 30, 2010 and is supposed to include some more third party components (that have completed the IP process). It will be interesting to see if some of those components are from American companies and if they find a way to build bridges to other Eclipse projects that use semantic technologies. I found some newsgroup posts last year about creating a new Eclipse project to do that but nothing seems to have happened.

GitHub has a Chansonnier project based on SMILA, but its part of the authors bachelor's degree thesis project. It is a search application that indexes songs imported from the web, with parameters like language and emotion. Its useful as a sample SMILA application that isn't part of the official distribution. The SMILA project has a lot of potential but hasn't found a way to appeal to a wider audience yet


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Simplicity wasn't an approach of SMILA. But the way of integration and plugability (OSGi) were main targets. It was designed to fit in big-sized it infrastructures in big companies.

Last time I looked at SMILA (and I've been aware of it for what feels like a few years now), it looked/felt rather complicated... Have things improved in terms of making SMILA SMIPLER?

I'm following the SMILA project and mailing lists for a long time. I also know insights about the company envolvments (Empolis, now Attensity) over here in germany.

Either there is no serious project been realized or they have a lack of PR over there.

By the way, SMILA was developed under the THESEUS programme TEXO/PROCESSUS http://theseus-programm.de/en-us/theseus-application-scenarios/texo/default.aspx

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