External search

March 20, 2005 | Leave a comment

A question I’m grappling with today involves listing items on other sites with tags used on Elgg. If you click on “metadata”, I ideally want to see not just other Elgg users who’ve been thinking about metadata, but also citations in other weblogs, on other websites, and in academic papers.

This is very doable. The question is, if I start adding more and more to the tag search page, is it going to become unmanageably long? Would it be better to have a link at the bottom saying “this tag on other sites”?

I’d quite like other people to do the same with Elgg-based services, so I’m also going to add RSS feeds for each tag.

Open sourcing, a possible re-ordering?

March 15, 2005 | Leave a comment

I’m really looking forward to open sourcing Elgg. So far the stumbling block is which license to choose – GPL is not an option as far as I’m concerned. If anyone’s got any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Lately I’ve had a couple of ideas for future directions, which could be quite exciting. The first I already spoke about elsewhere:

I imagine it’d be very useful to be able to view RSS feeds from services such Typepad as if they were your friends here in Elgg, although that’s nothing new; LiveJournal does that. But what if you could add someone’s FOAF file and have it appear on your friends screen? And then allow you to browse through their friends, click through to their RSS-syndicated weblogs and so on? That might be quite powerful.

At the moment there aren’t really any useful FOAF browsers that I’ve found, and I think this could be a legitimate feature that also pushes the envelope.

My other thought involves rearranging just about everything, and it goes like this. What if, instead of having files and weblog posts, you just had generic “objects”. Each object could be a piece of text, or a binary file, or a flash animation, or whatever. Plug-ins could be added for new types of object. Weblogs would then be replaced by your objects ordered by time (meaning you could host a video or audio blog as easily as a text one); you could also group your objects into sections, and obviously each object would also have extensive access permissions. In some ways this also simplifies the system; every component, such as the search and view weblog screens, would be operating on just one type of data. Then when it came to display it or perform other processing on the file’s contents – but only then – the system would look at what was actually inside the object.

Possibly a long way off, but I’m going to think about it some more.

Tag suggestions

March 1, 2005 | Leave a comment

When you click on a keyword, some screens will now show automatic tag suggestions at the bottom. This is currently a full word search, so “photography” yields “digital photography”, but not “photos” (yet).