Ed Taekema - Road Warrior Collaboration 29.7.2004

July 2004
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A blog looking at business communication, knowledge management, scripting tools, OS technology news and other things of interest to mobile tech workers. As I find interesting news this will also contain pointers to thoughts related to configuration managment, change management and general software development.

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Faceted Navigation - Capture Facets with Furl

I found a reference to faceted navigation via a trackback to my post about Social Bookmarking with Furl. According to Web Design Patterns Faceted Navigation works sort of like this:

The idea is to navigate by 'facets'. So in the first step users can select a facet out of the set of all facets. In the next step, the users can select another facet out of the remaining facets. Which facets users will see as available navigation choices is dependent on the path they take.

The Flamenco Project is a platform that supports this kinds of navigation.

I wonder if this is what Iwe are doing every day by using the More Like This features of Furl or the similar features of del.icio.us. The furl service generates a list of furled pages that are related via their various category classifications. I've developed a set of Furl bookmarklets that let me look at pages that furl users have categorized as similar to the page I am looking at. These bookmarklets then turn the whole web (at least the bits that are in furl anyway) into a facet navigable web. Furl seems then to be a way to capture facets dynamically by a large group of people rather than having to build them in intentionally as an author. It seems to be a better way to develop higher quality facets for content.

[via From Somewhere Out There]

posted at 15:46:08    #

Offline Wiki - Unintended Consequences

A quick follow up to my prior post. I have found it interesting that making a wiki offline seems to change how I use as well ... it feels less like interaction with the community for some reason. I think it is an important capability to have for frequent travellers who are off the net, but it will interesting to see if it changes the wiki usage pattern or community development.

posted at 13:04:00    #

CVS-like Access to a Wiki

Offline access to a wiki is something that I've wrestled quite a bit.  Its the part of being a RoadWarrior that makes wiki use difficult.  To solve it, I have made use of a mirror of the wiki (that basically creates a static copy of the wiki web) but then I don't get the opportunity to contribute to the wiki when I have the most free time.  Like when I am on a plane or sitting in an airport without Wifi ...

Have you ever had the problem of "where do I put this?". At many places there are a few systems: Wiki: Attach a doc to the Wiki. It is great in that it can be linked to in a nice way, you can grab it from wherever you are etc... Company File Repository: You can put the doc in some remote file repository (folders on a shared samba system, etc). This is shared, but there is no revision control, and if you are offline you can't get to it Sync'd repository: (E.g. CVS/SVN bastardized to do this). This is nice in that your docs are local, and you can see what is updated etc etc... but folders aren't the best way to organize things, and there isn't much metadata I have tried other work arounds, like having a WikiAttachments directory where I keep everything so I have a local copy. But you don't know when someone has added things, and it is a pain to keep in sync. What is there was a way in which I could use cvs/SubVersion to talk to Confluence, and it would all me to sync up and have local copies. In fact, it would be cool to have a sync'd up copy of the entire Wiki so I could run it locally if I was offline! I guess with tech such as Near-Time Flow and BEA's vapourware Alchemy, we could get there too...

My second cut at solving this is to write an offline tool for TWiki that basically extends my Twiki External Editor tool with a publish and subscribe capability which allows you to sync topics locally.  Theoretically, it should be able to handle attachments as well.  Additionally, if you change a topic offline in parallel with online changes, you can merge more recent changes into your offline copy before you publish it back up to the wiki ... very cvs'ish or subversion'ish.  It is still very rough but I am already finding it useful.  Keep an eye on this space for announcements of its availability. 


posted at 12:46:56    #
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