[self-interest] Re: self site

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at lsi.usp.br
Mon May 24 19:52:27 UTC 1999

Stefan Matthias Aust wrote:
> Sounds like this "WikiWikiWeb" idea Ward Cunningham et.al.  What kind of
> advantages do you expect compared to this email list?

It is indeed much like the Wiki Wiki Web or the SWiki, but I felt
something more structured would be better. I was thinking more of
a web application that combined some features of CVS and GNAT instead
of an editable web site. To answer your question - this site would
be strucutured and specific, while this list would continue to be
linear and general.

For example, you would post something like "how do I convert a data
slot into a constant slot using mirrors" in this mailing list, while
something like "morphs don't restore the background properly when
moving" would have a specific place in the new site.

> [pyweb]

Sounds very interesting, but looking through some search engines
(even at http://www.python.org) didn't turn up anything. It is
always nice to look at sample source code, but I will still have
to write most of this site from scratch.

> IMHO, the advantage of a wiki-style web is the collaboration aspect.  While
> a mailing list tends to feature a general - not targeted - discussion, such
> kind of web can help to reach a certain goal.  If there is one.  I'm not
> sure whether just the existance of the infrastructure will trigger the
> needed goal and I believe you actually want to set the goal first :-)

You are right. The goal of this site is to gather in one place
information about all projects relating to Self, their status,
proposed stuff that people can help with. We need to be able to
build on each other's work and avoid needless duplication of effort.

> >For any given page, the following items can be added separately:
> Here, this become more interesting as you leave the scope of a simple wiki
> and add more semantics to a page.  I like this (especially as this goes
> conform with another (somewhat secret) project of mine, code-named contiki,
> where people can comment on pages without changing them, having a list of
> request per page which can be dealt with by the page maintainer). I didn't
> know that the green book already described such a system.  (I really would
> want to get my hands on a copy of that book :-)

The system described in "Smalltalk-80: Bits of History, Words of
Advice" (the green book) started out as simple set of rules about
emails subject titles and file server directories relating to
Smalltalk development inside Xerox Parc. This later evolved into
a series of special browsers (bug report, new version generation,
code submittion, etc) to automate the system they had already working
manually. We built a system like this in C on top of QNX in 1988
and I was very pleased with the result.

RCS or CVS only take care of maintaining the source code, but a
more complex system like Aegis includes something like the green
book system (and improves it a little by adding testing as a
requirement for moving changes between developers).

About adding comments to pages, have you ever seen HyperNews
(http://www.hypernews.org)? I tried it here and it was quite nice.
I am not a big Perl fan, but this code was pretty reasonable. I
actually intended to create this list with HyperNews instead of
egroups, but couldn't meet with the administrators of lsi.usp.br
to deploy this software there.

Two things about the new site that I forgot to mention in my previous

 - at some point there will be a demand for the software at this
   site to be distributed via CD-ROMs. Many people prefer to pay
   $20 or so in order not to have to download 30MB over a modem.
   I am looking into selling these CD-ROMs myself (though anyone
   else is free to do so as well). Should I have a system where
   people can tag that stuff they put on the web site shouldn't
   go into the CD-ROM?

 - the site will be multilingual: every page will include links
   to the same content in other languages, and every link will
   include all available language options. The translation
   process will be manual, so at any given time the ammount of
   information available in different languages can differ
   considerably. Whenever a change is made to a page, the versions
   in other languages will be automatically tagged as outdated
   until someone changes them as well. In a text browser, it would
   look something like this:

      go to the technology page[pt][FR][es][de]. Also see...
                --------------- --  --  --  --

   The link to the English version of the page is "technology page"
   since this is found in an English text. The link "pt" would
   make you jump to a Portuguese version of that page, but it is
   not as current as the English version (lower case). The "FR"
   link is to an up to date French version of the page, while "es"
   and "de" would take you to Spanish and German versions which
   have not been updated. The same text would look like this when
   seen in a Portuguese version:

      vá para a página de tecnologia[EN][FR][es][de]. Veja também...
                -------------------- --  --  --  --

   This would all be generated automatically, and from any page you
   can access the "translate this page" button to help keep the
   site in working order.

-- Jecel


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