Magpie is a suite of tools supporting a ‘zero-cost’ approach to semantic web browsing: it avoids the need for manual annotation by automatically associating an ontology-based semantic layer to web resources. An important aspect of Magpie, which differentiates it from superficially similar hypermedia systems, is that the association between items on a web page and semantic concepts is not merely a mechanism for dynamic linking, but it is the enabling condition for locating services and making them available to a user. These services can be manually activated by a user (pull services), or opportunistically triggered when the appropriate web entities are encountered during a browsing session (push services). In this paper we analyze Magpie from the perspective of building semantic web applications and we note that earlier implementations did not fulfill the criterion of “open as to services”, which is a key aspect of the emerging semantic web. For this reason, in the past twelve months we have carried out a radical redesign of Magpie, resulting in a novel architecture, which is open both with respect to ontologies and semantic web services. This new architecture goes beyond the idea of merely providing support for semantic web browsing and can be seen as a software framework for designing and implementing semantic web applications.