Thoughts on Structured/Unstructured and Shared Information Management using Wiki and other emerging technologies
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Koranteng's Toli: On GMail and DHTML architecture again

From Koranteng's Toli: On GMail and DHTML architecture again:

The pattern is simple:
Database <-> XML (Optional) <--> JavaScript Object Bindings <--> UI Bindings (HTML) + UI management code

Wiki systems should map macros to make it easy to add some of the UI capabilities (such as adding an element to the already displayed list). Usual wiki renders everything in a page from scratch. In this model, you request only incremental info (using versions), and integrate that with what is displayed on UI.

But that would mean that all elements of wiki topic need to be accessed using structured approach. And perhaps we require fine-grain addressing of individual data items within the topic.

Monday, October 25, 2004
Tab (Notification) Framework - Usecase

Suppose you get an email from your organization survey system (requesting your info related to company-organized party). How do we optimize the interaction with the app?

The very first thing: This poll calls for notification mechanism - typically by email. Hopefully that would have a URL in the email body that directly takes you to the right app and topic (assuming you are online). (A grave mistake if there is no URL - you are forced to navigate with multitude of clicks!)

But there are problems: I might not attend to it right now. May be I need some other info. May be I want to process it at specific time only - along with many other such emails in the same group. So either you end up bookmarking it, or marking the email for later processing. In essence, you now have to manage it i.e. create a personal workflow for yourself.

So it greatly adds to email overload.

What is the solution? Suppose this email integrates into the PIM application - as a task, with what I call as Active Bookmark, then it would be very easy to process all the tasks. The active bookmark will not only have URL, but it will primarily notify the state of the app - much like presense information in IM systems. Green = You still have time to respond, Yellow = You ought to interact very soon, and RED = Urgent. And some color for "Dead" - where you failed to provide the info in time and it is recorded by your boss :-(.

Now these active bookmarks are basicaly "Saved tabs" i.e. it would be very nice to have this as end-user functionality, so it doesn't depend on the application. Users can then manage how they want to process long-term information.


Designing for tabbed browsing - the "Tab Framework"

One thing I hate about Bloglines is that I can't open the sites into new tabs directly - because each link is basically a javascript and not a URL per-se. In the same breath, I also like the fact that individual articles can be opened in independent tabs.

With tabbed browsing becoming such an important part of life, how should applications be developed so as to give best experience to user?

Second big problem is: How do we manage so many tags? For a moment, consider tags to be bookmarks. Each tag vies for our attention. While in most cases tags are temporary "handles" for helping us react to large amount of information, the actual attention span required might be quite large.

For example, workflows might involve a sign-off from co-worker, and all this while, you might want to keep the tab open (rather than remember to open the application again, or get notified by email.)

Some contexts might be really long-term: I might want to track a discussion, or wait to see if someone is selling that iPod at pricepoint of interest to me.

So as we don't have a decent notification system in place, I think tabs should get an important status.

Or perhaps merge PIM systems and tabs. Let one flow into another. And did I say that Email clients will greatly be helped by tabbing too?! (Incidently there is a slashdot discussion: Firefox as Platform. )


The article How To Use Instiki As CMS in Instiki covers some important aspects of wiki and publishing (that I referred to in my previous blog entry.)

Friday, October 22, 2004
Instiki - Focus on Content publishing in wiki systems

Spate of recent wiki announcements - such as application-oriented wiki JotSpot. For enterprise focus, being able to create application workflows in quick way is going to be important - in such a way that you can reuse the schemas and "code", and wikis provide just the right framework for the same. We essentially need to make sure that both the skillsets and time required to introduce a new workflow within the IT infrastructure will have to be reduced significantly.

And another wiki -
Instiki on the block. The key feature of this wiki is being able to publish to different URL, which is more important from content-management perspective (which is another main theme in enterprises).

Publishing is not well implemented in current set of wiki systems. What capabilities do we require (assuming content is prepared for collaboration)?

Instiki says it makes it easy to publish information to new hierarchy of URLs. So this needs to be watched.

Sunday, October 17, 2004
Desktop proxy needs to become standard service

In Firefox history in Google Desktop Search, Jon Udell suggests use of local proxy to help store browser history, so google can search it. Well, this is only one of the reasons for proxy, there are many others:

But we have these functionalities in bits and pieces. With focus on mobility, I guess there is scope for some good product on these lines.

Thursday, October 07, 2004
DNA seen through the eyes of a coder

DNA seen through the eyes of a coder - Something that most programmers will immediately appreciate!


About this blog
All realms of collaboration:
  • Wiki. Weblogs
  • New Integration Platforms for combined structured and unstructured information: Wiki, Portals, Email Clients,
  • Collaborative Document editing, Collaborative knowledge building
  • Email Interfaces to collaborative shares
  • Information organization, management, Publishing: In context of organizations, individuals, Opensource projects etc.
About me:
Name:Vinod Kulkarni

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