Weeknotes: Documents and data

The main project this week (apart from hte onging one of moving and virtualising servers) is to begin work on our technical documents.

I’m trying to move them onto the web and make the useful, not only in terms of reading about them but also to make them linkable. I’m trying to get them out of being placed on a web site as Word or PDF downloads and move them into being web pages with comments. Drupal 7’s inbuilt book module is probably the way to go and is producing some really nice results in the hacking I managed on Friday. There is a certain pleasure now in that I began the hack at 8:30 and within an hour, I had a working document (albeit I wanted to mess around with the URLs to make the nicer and far more meaningful). It had comments and was generally felt to be good.

The next task was to work on a way of doing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Having begun some of the work using the Frequently Asked Questions module, I decided it had to many issues for us (including not being able to control where the page was and it did not appear to play nicely wiht the Pathauto rewriting module), I write my own content type which we can manipulate via the Views module to create sets of FAQs. When I’ve got more time, I may come back to the module and try to help fix some bugs.

Whilst neither of these are finished items, it was a pleasant day hacking and creating, getting prototypes ready in a day. I’m taking this as a sign of increasing familiarity with Drupal. I do, however, need to find a morning to finish the Sugar SOAP integration module and tidy that up. Ideally I’d trying to find a way of integrating it with the current module to offer swapable backends.

I’ve also started looking at using Redis for caching again in a major way to ensure that various static fields of data, such as UK counties, can have a common reference to reduce data cleaning issues such as county begin written as co., co and county. I’m also looking at the issue of Linked Data and how to integrate the ideas into our current projects. For now I’m rereading Tim Berners-Lee’s guide, linked from the linkeddata.org website and formulating ideas and refining the ones I currently have.

Ambition might bet the better of me but at least I feel like I want to take all of this on and to try to improve skills and learn more. In the meanwhile, I have some serious hills to climb.

Update:  This post has got me rethinking the Open Correspondence RDF and Linked Data. The more I delve, the greater my sense of needing to rethink that part of the project and to complete the correspondence links. Most of them are there but need complete linking. I also need to look at the Python’s RDFlib and perhaps make better use of the Sparql qeuries and stores. I sense an evening or several of experimentation before a hacking weekend to resolve these issues.

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