[kforge-dev] ckan, how it might happen

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Thu Nov 10 22:57:32 UTC 2005


At Rufus' urging i have been thinking about CKAN again. 
(the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network)

Back in July i started work on a prototype, but it was a really
dead-end fork of something much more generic i was working on, i
stalled on it and a couple of months later wrote a small semantic web
app framework, which would be an easy way to rebuild a ckan prototype. 

I was in a procrastination-via-cartoons phase at the time and this is
the lowest-common-denominator RDF domain model i made at the time:

nodel, the simple app toolkit, you feed an RDF schema and it generates
RESTful handlers for html and xml interfaces, sortof rails-style.
I am happiest using it for pure machine interfaces, but you can bung
(currently cheetah) interfaces and have html views; the nodel package
supplies some basic user management and permissions functions, though
perhaps not fully fleshed out to what CKAN might need; i've made quite
wiki-nature, open interfaces to it.

Saul is actually threatening to make a moinmoin-style set of templates
for it. And that does seem a little crazy, and it would be nice to
have a very extensible metadata store which can be a plugin to a wiki
working over HTTP, as i think Rufus was suggesting. I've done this
with a previous, perl-based, rdf/xml restful http interface and a
plugin for the CGI::Wiki module, it worked out pretty well. You can
match for wiki page names, for example, on name-type properties of
objects in the RDF data store. Using that with a vocabulary like DOAP,
Description Of A Project ( http://usefulinc.com/doap ) designed for
software projects but very applicable to data / information projects
in general, augmented with Dublin Core. 

I wonder if the project should be taking into account government
metadata schemes and standards for kinds of public sector information,
whether that is a priority now. I'm not really sure what other kinds
of use cases people will have for different kinds of structure and sources
of public sector data. In the world of geodata there is in theory
encouraged use of ISO standards you have to pay to even look at, but i
don't see them in the wild.

Anyway, i'd like to throw together a simple 'spike solution' very
soon without worrying too much about a spec, then have something to
talk about, although i would appreciate any ongoing conversation on
the subject, and the related one of how it might easily and usefully
share data with kforge. The RDF rational for me is, "easy to get into, 
easy to get out of, very comprehensible, well-known expressions for 
a lot of this domain already, and i have a convenient toolkit". 


More information about the kforge-dev mailing list