See PROD run! Run PROD run!

As of a couple of days ago PROD has gone live. Not wishing to blow my own trumpet too much but it went out pretty much on time and on schedule too. The project tracking utility (for that is what it is) is at the first of several milestones , resplendent with a new look and feel and a fair amount of the back-end plumbing sorted out. For anyone who is interested, the front end is being done in PHP and I’ve put my Ruby books on the shelf for the time being.

Essentially at this stage the structure consists of a list of projects, each of which may have a multiplicity of properties owing their syntax to the DOAP specification and other variables derived from discussions with JISC. The taxonomies for this are flexible and extra possibilities can be added very easily. Looking at the DOAP RDF schema it would not be hard to add multiple language support too – but perhaps we can keep that for some other time! I’d be interested to know if people might want such a thing.

Prod is designed to derive its data from a range of sources and produce a unified up-to-date view of projects and the activity that is taking place within them. So far there are two data import modules – one for the old e-Learning Framework project database and another for the Excel spreadsheets of projects currently in use at JISC. The former was woefully out-of-date but provided an effective proof that the system was functioning, and the latter refreshingly brings us a relatively fresh data set extending up to December 2007 as well as details of programme managers, funding, dates (rendered useless by Excel sadly) and themes.

This has thrown up a couple of other increments to work on over the next week or so – tighter validation and sanitisation of data for one, and some way of managing the precedence of properties. For example there is currently no way of saying that the data from one source is more authoritative than another, the most recent addition always wins…

The e-framework integration work (known internally as “development tables”) is also a major push at the moment. I’ve got this pretty much worked out conceptually and am hoping to have a first cut at functionality by the end of the month.

The next major iteration will also see the logging and display of new activity, starting with property updates and increasing in scope as more input sources are added. This will mean a corresponding change to the front page, transforming the list of “active projects” into an activity list or “mini-feed”. Keeping this well attenuated (i.e. relevant) may take some tweaking but it hopefully will make a good at-a-glance view of exactly what is going on in project world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>