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Re: [grubstreet] Some thoughts from last night

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From: Kate L Pugh
Subject: Re: [grubstreet] Some thoughts from last night
Date: 16:53 on 08 Nov 2002
(These are just brief notes too, while they're in my head.)

I was talking to Trelane about Wikis, too, briefly -- he mentioned
that it's frustrating not to be able to use metadata to make it easier
to update and use the site.  Think XML, Axkit Wiki (CGI::Wiki and the
Axkit Wiki possibly need to join forces at some point, but I don't
want to go talk to the guy until (a) I understand Axkit and (b) I
actually have something reasonable to show him.  Plus I'm really
aiming at the moment in the direction of something easily understood
by non-techies, which XML ain't.  The sales guy in our office used the
internal Wiki yesterday for the first time and he was amazed by how
easy it was to produce the page he wanted).

> Everything in usemod is plain text - no indexing, no database, yet
> the search is almost instantaneous.

How does it scale?  The search on grubstreet is fast but is this
because the server's not under high load?  The search on is
fast but is this because they have a fast server?  It doesn't do
stemming either.  Ivor's search is already a vast improvement on the
existing one though.

> Multilingual Grubstreet - An interesting concept would be a set of
> flag gifs on the front page, that take you to Grubstreet in French,
> German, etc. If pages have not been translated yet, they are sucked
> through Babelfish to provide a starting point.

Talk to Adam Kennedy (Alias on IRC) about this -- he was briefing us
on it on Tuesday.  The quick summary is that multilingual support is
hell on toast, both to build in to an existing system and to maintain
the data.  The latter is especially important for grubstreet -- you'd
need a way of marking a particular piece of data as "out of date"
whenever a change was made to one language and not another.  This
would probably be easier with a more semantic approach, but I think
still a big headache.

> Embedded indexes - this is a possible enhancement to my +index
> patch. Why not have the ability to include an index inside an
> existing page? Please let me know if you think this would be useful.

You mean like RecentChanges where you can edit the text on top but you
still get the automatic list of changes at the bottom?  Yes.  I want
this very much indeed.

> It would be quite nice to see a map of London with dots on it for all the 
> Grubstreet places of interest - the dots could also be hyperlinks. 

Yes, I've thought this too.  Not come up with a good way of doing it though.

> Some sites have a front page, where the really good showcase stuff gets put

Yes, we really need to make the front page more exciting.  I was
thinking along the lines of having a regularly-changing leader linking
to an article or articles relating to stuff currently happening or
happening soon.  Examples: firework displays, festivals.


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