Tim’s Weblog Tim's Weblog
Tim Strehle’s links and thoughts on Web apps, managing software development and Digital Asset Management, since 2002.

Users care about data, not software

Nathan Willis - Users care about data, not software:

"In working with graphics editors, desktop publishing apps, and Web-based content-management systems, I find almost none that can export to anything besides its native format, and none of them makes even that simple.

Some developers clearly do understand the importance of exporting the data. Every new release of Gnumeric, for example, highlights improvements in import and export filters for the Excel format. And Quicken compatibility is a top priority for GnuCash. So why is it that so many free software projects let data import and export functionality fall through the cracks?"

Thu, 30 Sep 2004 21:08:22 +0000

Drowned out by keywords

Edd Dumbill - Drowned out by keywords:

"So here's a case for the semantic web. It's stupidly difficult to search for news of my hometown.

I live in the beautiful city of York, UK. In most search oriented applications I cannot search for my city. Why?

Because "New York" always matches a search for "York", too."

Thu, 30 Sep 2004 20:53:41 +0000

Faceted Metadata Search

Search Tools has a nice article on Faceted Metadata Search:

"Full text search wipes out the value of the metadata: a number 3 is just a number, not a size, price, product ID or other meaningful number, as it is in context of the tagged page or database record. Similarly, it's hard to know whether a recipe, for example, has chili pepper as a significant ingredient or minor flavoring. While many searches are just fine without that information, there are other cases where providing that context would be extremely helpful.

A good solution to these problems involves exposing the facets in dynamic taxonomies, so that the search user can see exactly the options they have available at any time. They can switch easily between searching and browsing, using their own terminology for search while recognizing the organization and vocabulary of the data."

Tue, 14 Sep 2004 21:29:16 +0000


"Zebra is a high-performance, general-purpose structured text indexing and retrieval engine. It reads structured records in a variety of input formats (eg. email, XML, MARC) and allows access to them through exact boolean search expressions and relevance-ranked free-text queries.

Zebra supports large databases (more than ten gigabytes of data, tens of millions of records). It supports incremental, safe database updates on live systems. You can access data stored in Zebra using a variety of Index Data tools (eg. YAZ and PHP/YAZ) as well as commercial and freeware Z39.50 clients and toolkits.

Zebra is free software, available under the GPL license."

Tue, 14 Sep 2004 21:23:48 +0000

PHP/JavaScript scriptserver

Great idea, but currently may render your browser unusable while waiting for the server to respond - Harry Fuecks' Crouching Javascript, Hidden PHP solution:

"Let's say you have a PHP class that looks something like;

class Math { function add ($x, $y) { return $x $y; } }

You can now use this from Javascript like;

var m = new math(); alert (m.add(2,2));

No need to think about the underlying mechanism / encoding."

Wed, 08 Sep 2004 09:05:24 +0000

Hypertext '96 Conference Keynote

Interesting hypertext/hypermedia look-back by Randall H. Trigg, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center - Hypermedia as Integration: Recollections, Reflections and Exhortations:

"I had decided that hypertext links needed "types" (really "labels") that could distinguish in what way the link was serving either as a traversible connection, a structuring means, or an argument representation."

"The great thing about the digital library craze is how much we're learning from librarians, not just how much we can teach them about technology."

Mon, 06 Sep 2004 11:00:35 +0000

Replacing FileMaker with Free Software?

Slashdot discussion - Replacing FileMaker with Free Software?:

jhealy1024 asks: "I'm looking for a way to replace our FileMaker DB solution with an open-source RDBMS. Problem is, FileMaker's GUI and report design tools are pretty darn good, and I can't find a suitable replacement. Anybody out there have a solution that doesn't require me to take a year off to hand-code a replacement solution?"

UNIX_Meister responds: "I think there's something here that is escaping most of the /. readers. Filemaker has a nice GUI for creating applications - RAD type functionality. We're not talking about a GUI to manage a mysql database. I'd like to be able to create an application that uses a database backend quickly. Something like Oracle Forms & Reports of old, or Access, or ??? Think "glade" "mysql/postgresql" perl's report writing

I've been looking for something like this in the OSS world for years, and in that time, like the author of the article, could have written one."

Wed, 01 Sep 2004 12:28:17 +0000

Crouching Javascript, Hidden PHP

Harry Fuecks - Crouching Javascript, Hidden PHP [2]:

"So how do we apply code generation, in a useful way, to pulling data from the server side into a page which is already loaded?"

Wed, 01 Sep 2004 08:46:31 +0000