I wasn't sure I'd ever see the day that the UVa library would, as an institution, agree to open source Blacklight. But they did! [A dirty little secret is that the bulk of it, including a basic example MARC indexer, was open sourced last year during the preparation for the Solr code4lib preconference.]
I'm honored to be speaking at the upcoming OLA Super Conference 2008. I'm presenting "Collex: Collecting and exhibiting scholarly materials" (session #406, Thursday January 31, 10:40am) and " Blacklight: the University of Virginia's Catalog on Solr" (session #1203, Friday, February 1, 2:10pm). I'm looking forward to demonstrating these projects and sharing their latest news.
I gave a solr-ruby presentation at rubyconf this past weekend. My timing was off, didn't cover as much as I would have liked, and one of my demos flubbed and I punted on it (turns out all I did was forget to pass a command-line argument to the script *sigh*).
Here are the slides.
ObLibTopic: I'll be demonstrating and discussing Collex and Blacklight!
This self-marketing thing is hard. Thus far I've been blessed with word-of-mouth success for the reputation from the various open source communities in which I've participated. But it does take a little advertising so folks know what you're up to. With little fanfare, some friends of mine have put together an impressive lineup of courses and speakers, and a great venue, on several open source topics. I thought it was a good idea to have a longer course on Solr and Lucene, so I agreed to give it a shot.
NINES, has announced its formal release. Collex is the technology driving NINES, developed with Bethany Nowviskie's leadership and elegant sense of design. Thanks to the others on our team that made this happen: Jerome McGann for believing in and funding our vision, Jamie Orchard-Hays for rapid Rails magic, and Duane Gran for keeping the machinery running.
Collex is the basis, idea-wise, of Solr Flare, a generalized faceted browser.
In looking for a solution to organize a local elementary school library, Delicious Library was my first stop. And perhaps my last... except for faceting it with Flare, of course.
I scanned a few books into Delicious Library:
And then I exported the library (to a tab-delimited format), wrote a little Delicious Library export -> Solr importer script, and my Delicious Library is now faceted with Flare:
Pragmatic Studio does it again, putting on another top notch event: Rails Edge Reston. I was fortunate enough to attend and pick up a few more gems of Ruby wisdom. Some of the highlights:
- Met William Groppe (Mr. Ruby Brain) in person, after collaborting online on solrb for a little while. Putting a face and a handshake to a virtual collaborator is important.
- Also met two of edsu's co-workers. Nice to see so much Ruby library work. Times they are a changin'.
- Metaprogramming was the very first session. As it should be.
- Stuart Halloway did a solrb code review and his changes will be reflected in future commits. Speaking of Stu, he and his evil twin, Justin Gehtland, have produced a spectacular enhancement to Rails with Streamlined, a way to elegantly declare a user interface to a relational database. After seeing Streamlined again in more detail, I'm convinced that Flare is destined to be Streamlined Solr. Justin and Stu - thanks for your inspirations, in more ways than one.
- Got to see many of my good friends and heros again, including Mike, Dave, Chad, Jim, Duncan, Stu, and Justin. I met Bruce Williams and Marcel Molina Jr. for the first time. All presentations were well done, and informative to even seasoned Rails developers.
- I briefly presented Collex/Flare/solrb during Thursday nights "Open VGA" sessions, though a bit too frantically. My presenting chops were a bit rusty, and doing a 7 minute presentation illuminated the need to get a more succinct and distilled elevator pitch for Solr Flare. code4lib conference is the next Solr flare explosion for me.
(my first code4lib post)
Ed Summers and William Groppe have jumped in head-strong to crafting a Ruby DSL to Solr. solrb is coming along nicely thanks to our collaborations.
Another early adopter asked a question on the solr-user e-mail list, and I replied with a lot of juicy tidbits to whet your appetite.
We're moving as fast as we can in order to use this infrastructure for the basis of Solr Flare, destined to be faceted browsing plugins for Rails allowing your Rails application to easily benefit from what Solr and solrb offer. Solr Flare will debut at the code4lib pre-conference event in whatever form it happens to be in by then.