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

strehle.de now powered by Topic Maps

If you’ve visited my blog before: Do you notice anything unusual? I hope not – because that’s what I’ve been working on almost every night for four months… 😄

My personal Web site had been hosted on a company-sponsored server for the last 15 years (thanks guys!), but that server is finally going to be shut down. So I rented a virtual server and started to move my stuff over.

Being a developer, I couldn’t just copy the software and data onto the new server. That would have been way too easy! Developers always feel the need to remove cruft, to improve on their old code, and to learn about new technology in the process.

Many parts of my Web site (my blog, a photographer’s portfolio, Planet DAM) had been powered by our company’s DAM software in the background. I learnt a lot by “eating my own DAM dog food”, but now I wanted to explore something else: Topic Maps.

Topic Maps are a standardized way for modeling information – sadly, they never gained traction and are long-forgotten by almost everyone. But I can’t stop loving Topic Maps, and in 2014, I finally started to build my own open-source Topic Maps engine, TopicCards. (Earlier named TopicBank. It’s very experimental, useful for no-one but me at the moment, and evolves at an extremely slow pace.) I’m also using this side project to learn Elasticsearch, and dive deeper into Linked Data, Amazon S3, PostgreSQL and the latest PHP 5 features.

So I’m now “dogfooding” TopicCards. I rewrote the DAM-powered parts of my Web site to use my Topic Maps engine instead. And today, after months of hard work, I switched my live Web site over to the new server, and to the new code. Some things are still missing (Planet DAM’s RSS feeds, which I plan to reimplement soon). But for a full heart transplant, the patient seems to be doing very well!