[Clipart] Open Clip Art Library Release 0.05
bryce at bryceharrington.com
Wed Aug 11 11:00:58 PDT 2004
On Wed, 11 Aug 2004, Nicu Buculei wrote:
> Alberto Simões wrote:
> > We really need to create a repository for all the clipart, where we
> > can work together on it, as adding metadata and such. A CVS repository
> > would be very, very nice.
> i believe a web interface would be nicer - probably a solution could be
> a script derived from upload_svg.cgi for editing metadata
I had attempted to do a CVS repository for the clipart really early on
(the module's still there if anyone wants to use it.) But in playing
with it and thinking about it, CVS seems too limited for our needs.
First, it has a file hierarchy approach to storing things, whereas what
we really want is a flat storage with metadata to do querying. Second,
CVS is hard to use programmatically because it doesn't have an API, so
you have to parse stdout (I have done this in another project and it's a
pain in the neck) to get your error codes. Third, creating a web
interface to CVS is quite hard - this is why the available interfaces
are read-only. Fourth, while we can use CVS ok, most ordinary users
(esp. artists) will find it too technical, so you have to develop an
interface. Fifth, imagine doing a CVS checkout after we've been at
this a few years and have gained tens of thousands of images. Ack!
But, it's definitely true that we need a repository for this. Our
current system is hindering each of us. My release tools have to have a
lot more smarts in them than they should, and end up having to do a lot
of re-work on files to revalidate, etc. etc. We run into issues
updating the browsing tool each time we do a release. We find ourselves
having to put a surprising amount of intelligence directly into the
upload tool to compensate.
There are other version control systems besides CVS, such as subversion,
arch, etc. However, while these correct some of CVS' deficiencies,
they're all still _source code_ repositories. They lack some of the
functions you'd want from a DMS, so we'd still need to work around
that. Plus, they tend to be a little more complex, and definitely don't
simplify the amount that the user would need to learn.
Looking at proper document management systems, there are a few out
there, however most are web-only (via php or similar), so they don't
give enough API-level access.
Anyway, for our purposes, I think that the functionality we require is
not so complex that we could not write our own. Essentially we need to
be able to check documents in and out, lock docs for a particular owner,
assign document id's, query based on metadata (date, validation status,
author, category, etc.), and alter metadata (such as categories).
I've made a first pass at a DMS perl module called Document::Manager:
The idea here is to do provide the really core operations for a DMS.
Most of the work has gone into establishing what the internal repository
file structure looks like; internally it's a flat file system but
spreads files across multiple directories to avoid too many nodes in any
one dir (in case we eventually grow to 5 million documents).
Currently it allows adding documents and checking them out.
I'm really motivated to creating this, because this project is like the
nineth time I've run into this same basic need. I've seen all manner of
ugly work arounds (including a couple of my own) and it's time to come
up with a cleaner solution to it. Such a module could have value far
beyond our project. For example, any project requiring distributed
collaboration for creating multimedia has this same need - this means
computer game developers, video creation teams, writers, and of course
I'd love having help working on this; I don't think it's going to be
much work to create it, but I think the more brains that look at it, the
better it'd be. The next step needed is to flesh out its API further.
Some of the functionality we need next:
* Query for a list of documents
* List revisions for a given document id
* Revert document to a prior revision number
* Lock/unlock document for a period of time for a given user
* Properties (e.g. file size, filename, metadata, owner, watchers)
* Whole-Repository stats (# docs, disk space used, etc.)
I think for properties we want to stay as generic as possible, because
while we could hard code things for our own usage (basing it on the SVG
Metadata fields), I don't think we want to do that because, a) we will
want to use this for things besides SVG files, such as JPG's, templates
for other programs like Scribus or OpenOffice, etc. b) we may want to
store info in addition to what's in the regular SVG Metadata, and c) I'd
like to be able to add new kinds of properties without having to roll a
new version of the module.
Anyway, what do you guys think of this approach? If anyone else would
like to work on any of the above bits, go for it.
More information about the clipart