Recent blog entries for ldodds

I've produced another new FOAF utility which will hopefully be of interest to Advogato users: Advogato to FOAF will generate a FOAF document directly from your Advogato profile. All you need to supply is your nick and your email.

Read more about the utility in this blog entry.

Whilst tinkering with various APIs, I've whipped a tool to extract RDF metadata from Microsoft Office documents.

You can download it, and read about it in detail on this blog entry: More, More, MORE

20 Dec 2002 (updated 20 Dec 2002 at 14:54 UTC) »

Posted the first beta of the FOAF-a-Matic today. Yay! You can grab it from here if you want to take a look (requires Java)

I'm quite happy with the code. As I've iteratively added features its been refactored quite mercilessly. The test suite is embarrassingly small at the moment, but I plan to remedy that ASAP.

11 Dec 2002 (updated 11 Dec 2002 at 17:47 UTC) »

I've put up a project page for my FOAF editor. Its basically just an intended feature list and some screenshots at the moment. I want to do a bit more coding before I release my first beta.

Comments very welcome.


I decided to register the FOAF-a-Matic as an Advogato project. Why not?

There's no license info there yet, because I'd like to try generating one from the Creative Commons. But basically it'll be Public Domain. I'd just like to be acknowledged as the author.

Now to get the code into a releasable format. I've been quite rigorous, trying to keep the Javadoc etc up to date as I go (rather than fill it in afterwards which I never do otherwise.

Now that my workload is easing a bit I've started tinkering with code again. Specifically I've been taking another look at the Java Swing API and thinking about how to build scriptable application frameworks.

At present I've got a simple framework which embeds the Bean Scripting Framework (to provide the scripting support) and a generic "service" component model to handle the application internals. Makes for loose coupling. Planning to open source this eventually.

I've also been looking at Thinlets. I've documented by first impressions in the Notes on Thinlets page on my Wiki. I'm using the framework to build a FOAF editor which is progressing quite nicely. Hooked up the interface to the application model this morning at its all working fine. Some more code to write, testing, and some icons to draw before its finished though.

So I'm extremely busy in my day job, as I'm temporarily managing an engineering team that are close to an application release.

However I need time to do 'something different'. And while I'm currently daunted by the amount of XML-DEV activity to catch up on, I found a useful displacement activity in getting involved in a conversation on the cocoon-dev mailing list about documentation.

I suggested (and I don't think this is the first time it's been suggested) that they use a Wiki as a means of capturing documentation, perhaps culled from the mailing list. It's also a useful environment for collaborative editing.

The suggestion went down well. It also looks like we've avoided (narrowly) the usual open source/engineer rat-holes ("lets build a Cocoon based Wiki!").

Happily someone set up a site based around JSPWiki which is my current favourite -- it's not got a huge number of features, but it's very easy to install, configure and maintain. I'm using it for my personal Wiki into which I dump my research notes.

Last night I took the time to pull my Cocoon-related content out of my site, and into the Cocoon Documentation Wiki -- largely a cut-and-paste effort. This has the happy effect of allowing me to finally publish a whole raft of material I've been accumulating, as well as adding some additional momentum to the idea.

Things seem to be ticking along nicely, and others have begun adding content too.

Updated the FOAF-a-matic.

Pulled together the W3C's HTML Tidy and XSLT services to create the FOAF Bulletin Board. Thats how easy Web Services should be IMO.

Well I have Debian installed -- turned out I was using the wrong server to grab packages from. I was relying on the defaults presented by the install, but for 3.0 you need to override these (at the moment anyway).

So it's all installed, just need to get on and configure various services and devices. Haven't touched it for a few days because I was away.

I hacked up a Javascript application today -- the FOAF-a-matic to generate FOAF descriptions automatically. Don't know what FOAF is? It stands for "Friend of a Friend" and is a way to describe yourself in RDF. Edd Dumbill's "XML Watch: Finding friends with XML and RDF" is a good starting point.

28 Jun 2002 (updated 28 Jun 2002 at 15:28 UTC) »

Currently in the process of transferring my domain to it's new home and investigating how painful it'll be to install Debian on my laptop.

I've messed about with Linux previously (a Red Hat distro) but this is the first time I've seriously looked at using it as my main work machine. No doubt this admission will bump me back down to Observer level! :)

23 Jul 2001 (updated 23 Jul 2001 at 12:50 UTC) »

I've managed to update eclectic (my 'blog tracking the XML-DEV mailing list) for five straight days now. Lets hope I can get back into the groove I was in during the first of last year when I barely missed a day. Kind of lost the thread of things after I got married! :)

I even managed 4 xmlhack stories yesterday. Must be because I've started drinking coffee again.

If there are any XML developers out there writing SAX based applications, you might be interested in this article I wrote recently: "The Collected Works of SAX". The XML-DEV folk are interested in collecting a series of links to open source SAX utility code to begin compiling a library of useful utility code. I'm particularly interested in SAX filters.

If you've got code to share, please email me and I'll compile a list.

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