notes from Engage architecture meeting

Alison Benjamin radiocontrolled at gmail.com
Fri May 1 15:08:16 UTC 2009


Hi,

These are notes Colin & I took from the Engage architecture meeting
yesterday in Breeze.

Thanks,
Alison B


The Shape of Engage:
* Mobile
 - WebKit + JavaScriptCore
 - HTML, CSS, JavaScript for all UI & logic
 - Start with iPhone, another platform too (Android or Nokia Symbian).
Infusion FSS could be extended.
- concern about iPhone's accessibility
- another platform not decided on yet
 - are visitors expected to come w/ their own devices? will museums buy new
equip (realistic?)?

* Mapping & Visualization
 -visualizing relationships between objects & concepts. UI that work on
desktop & mobile that  can provide visitors w/ a sense of how the exhibit is
organized in space
 - main tech:
  - HTML Canvas
 - Processing + Processing.js
 - parser for Processing code to be rendered in HTML canvas?
 - open web alternative to Flash

* Service Layer
 - Foremost, ability to handle different data
 -how to work w/ data in many systems so data can be presented to visitors
in interesting ways
 -how can visitors contribute to content (e.g. tagging, creating their own
collections, connections w/ outside resources such as social networking)
  - Affordable to museums
 - Open and accessible to contributors
 - Two forerunners:
    1. Pure Python stack
       - CherryPy, SpringPython, etc.
       - write a new renderer when needed
    2. Server-side JavaScript
       - practically, backed by the JVM
       - potentially could move to V8 for speed
       - all server-side code in JS
       - ChangeApplier will be key
       - Model infrastructure shared across both the client and server (i.e.
awesome)
       - main code to write:
            - request handling and path parsing
       - opportunity to share code directly with the CollectionSpace project


 - Persistence:
    1. CouchDB
 - flexible schema
- museum catalogs tend to change - but SQL quite rigid
- MySQL - highly dynamic queries over static schema
 Couch - queries static, schema more flexible, document-based
- useful intro to Couch: http://books.couchdb.org/relax/why-couchdb

    2. Solr/Lucene

*Role of Infusion in Engage
-prominent (e.g. FSS for handheld experience)
-Web good for allowing access by many different platforms (e.g phone, kiosk,
browsers)
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