A perhaps little-known fact about the directory at
SoapWare.Org -- it's an (imho) innovative use of XML.
I edit the directory in the outliner that's baked
into Radio UserLand. Here's a screen shot.
And (here's the interesting part) I can include
directories maintained by other people.
For example, the list of implementations is
maintained by Paul Kulchenko, who's also famous for Perl::Lite.
Paul has a web app that generates the data in a
format called OPML. It's the native file format for the Radio outliner,
mentioned above. OPML was designed to be the file format for a piece of software
that already existed, in a category that I know a lot about, outliners. Trace
back through history and you'll find that the outliner in Word was inspired by a
product I wrote with Bob Bierman in 1985, called Ready. Over the years we've had
lots of text-based export formats for outlines, I've done five outliners, but
this time around we decided to do two things differently:
1. The native file format would be text-based
2. That format would be XML.
That's all working and deployed now, more info on
editing directories in Radio:
***The outline runtime in Manila
Anyway, completely separate from Radio, a new part
of Manila (to be released in Frontier 7) is a directory runtime. It renders the
OPML source as a navigatable tree-structure of web pages, as exemplified by the
SoapWare directory. In fact, every Manila site has this feature, and there are
lots of directories scattered around our community. We hope to have them
coalesce at some point into a top-level directory at SuperOpenDirectory.Com,
which is a UserLand site, but here's the cool thing about the way it works, like
the Web, there's no reason for there to be a single top-level, in fact one could
include any of our directories, such as SoapWare.Org, in other directories,
hosted on other servers, in other scripting environments. All you'd have to do
is clone our directory browsre (the one baked into Manila) and we'd like to work
with people on exactly that.
Philosophically, I think the Web has always been
held back because directories were centralized. I want to see as many roots to
the global directory as there are websites. Maybe that's hoping for a lot, so
I'll settle for more than Yahoo, DMOZ and Looksmart.
Anyway, the reason I mention this here is
1. This is a smart group of XML-savvy people and I
think this is an interesting use of XML, and
2. The SoapWare.Org directory is open on both ends.
It can be included in other directories, if you'd like to, please do. And from
the other end, it can seamlessly include other directories, so if you'd like to
volunteer to keep one part current, or produce an OPML rendering of content
you're already maintaining, we are ready to work with you. It's a bootstrap, and
bootstraps can be fun.