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This post is in regards to the Tech Stack Working Group Technology Map

History
In Fall 2011, the Tech Stack Working Group set out to define a set of standards that the community found useful. This technology map quickly became a survey of many standards in several general categories. It also became apparent that there was no way that compiling this documentation would be a small effort.

Present
Currently, late summer 2011, the tech map exists as a table of technology names with several sub-pages of documentation and explanation developed to a greater or lesser extent.We have made the move to the Confluence wiki management framework and involvement in the wiki process, especially from CDI focus groups is ramping up.

Prediction
I would hazard a guess that there is no way we will adhere to a strict format for much of the wiki documentation to be developed, but some basic structure is needed, atleast at the top level of each technology's sub-wiki entry.

The Vision
Top level:

  • An index of technologies
  • Potentially add an abstract sentence stating the purpose and scope of the standard
  • Include a glossary
  • Links to documentation about example integrations of the standards

Individual technology's top-level:

  • A brief abstract outlining the purpose, scope, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
    • This is meant to provide someone the necessary information to tell them whether to read more or move on.
  • Links and Standard appropriate content.
    • This can be most anything.
  • A list of all pages labeled with the standard's names.
    • Can show all labels other than the technology's label for each page to give context.
    • Will allow content not in the existing documentation structure to be discovered.

Discussion
This small amount of structure will allow easy navigation while not putting any restriction on the form of the actual content. As the content develops, some further structure may be needed, but we should deffer imposing anything beyond what is outlined above until the need becomes clear.

A note on labels
By labeling pages with their main subject and any important modifying keywords, we will be able to offer a more abstract holistic view of content as an alternative to the structured tree imposed by confluence. I would venture to say that EVERY page should have at least one label.

D-out

  • No labels

7 Comments

  1. I agree that we should exploit the labeling feature more. I like the idea of folks down the line assembling a set of labels to pull information together to suit their needs. Should we start developing a list of suggested (or even controlled) labels?

    On a more superficial level, is the table format we're using to show the list of items doing what we want? Will it scale as the list of items grows? Are there style conventions that would help? Would having additional presentation metaphors (like a topic map) be useful? Seems like different presentations could emphasize different aspects or connections between components, which could be useful in different situations.

    1. I would lean toward letting these issues be organic.

      While a controlled list of labels might be nice, I think we should encourage people to do a lot of the control themselves via awareness of titles in the technology map and general usage on parent pages.

      The table is simple, which I like. Most people know how to look at tables. I personally don't know of anything that would work better right now. I will defer any work on representing it differently until a need is really there or there is something really broadly useful that we should obviously do.

  2. Unknown User (fshahnaz@usgs.gov)

    It would be really great to have some reviews of tools and technologies, but I'm having a bit of trouble getting folks (other than the usual crowd) to contribute to the wiki/submit reviews. However I have received lists of resources (mostly web based) that some members often use. So am working on using tools like delicious (see http://www.delicious.com/farial19) to organize these resources and then figure out how to display the different categories within confluence.

    Another effort involves setting up automated feeds to update the "Tech Trends" page -- here users can browse what is going on in the mobile industry w/o manually having to create blog posts such as John Aguinaldo and I were doing. This manual posting didn't seem feasible either, especially when we considered the sheer volume of news that is generated every day.

    1. Unknown User (jagui@usgs.gov)

      yeah, Farial and I have been working to reorganize the MAD navigation structure.  We can test a structure on our sub-site and see how it works.  Here's a draft we are working on:

      • [This is the standard stuff for each group]
      • Introduction
      • Members
      • Meetings

      [The following seems like too much, but I don't want to nest anything..  maybe can combine stuff...]

      • Resources (Web sites, blogs, forums, people, or organizations relating to subject. News & Info )
      • Tools (libraries, development tools, product reviews)
      • Reference Docs (Programmer's references, user manual, API docs)
      • Tutorials & Examples (getting started tutorials, video tutorials, example code
      • Product Reviews
      • Technology Trends (Links to articles indicating key player movements and general trending info.)

      Farial makes a good point that it's hard to get folks to contribute, but I think this is more because it may not be super-easy to do.  A clean, intuitive navigation structure to ensure people know where to put stuff will help.  But also the mechanics of the user interface where a person creates content is key also - If it's too difficult, then folks just don't use it...  I know Farial is looking into ways we can streamline some of this stuff.

      Farial, I'm thinking that if our content is labeled properly, then maybe we can configure our sub-navigation to display content automatically by label?

      e.g., content labeled "mad reference" would automatically appear under the "Reference Docs" section.

      1. This structure makes a lot of sense to me. I don;t have time this week to spend time with this, but lets revisit next week! I'll be in touch.

  3. Unknown User (jagui@usgs.gov)

    hey dave, I just posted a comment on the Tech Map page that shows a sample structure we can experiment with (it's really rough)

    https://my.usgs.gov/confluence/display/cdi/TSWG+Technology+Map

  4. Unknown User (fshahnaz@usgs.gov)

    Note on using social bookmarking to crowd-source this effort: https://my.usgs.gov/confluence/display/cdi/2011/09/20/Leveraging+Social+Bookmarking+Networks+to+Extend+CDI+KnowledgeBase

    This doesn't address the navigation question, but if it works, then the results can be plugged into whichever navigation structure is adopted and/or a tag cloud (seems quite popular for displaying folksonomies).