Simal - Integrating social semantic nature of web to open source projects


Open source projects are becoming more prominent and powerful due to the web 2.0 / 3.0 revolution.There are mammoth number of projects get huddled in the web.Sites like sourceforge,freshmeat etc have thousands of open softwares cataloged in them.There are projects undertaken by universities and academicians.Many developers around the world work on various technologies .What if socialization is happening to the project endeavors ? How to integrate and share information of multiple projects around the web ?

Simal is a tool for building and tracking projects and the people involved in those projects.It is a framework for building project registry.Meta-data data models like RDF and document languages like XML do provide a solid foundation for cataloging mechanisms.The catalogs can be generated from RDF documents maintained and hosted by the projects themselves.This entry contains a description of what the project is doing, team members, community's structure, deliverables, etc.By exposing such data it is possible for interaction between related projects.The project catalog is built by importing Description of a Project (DOAP) files from projects.DOAP have an RDF vocabulary.

The DOAP for the project looks like this

The DOAP project design is explained by Edd Dumbill here , here , here.

The RDF semantics is used to build a community like feature.It can use the RSS feeds (trac/wiki changes,version control feeds,mailing list feeds etc) from the project and aggregate it.It could be a sort of friendfeed.The bugs,changes,their solutions etc can be updated among various projects.

A very interesting thing I noted is the addition of FOAF into the vocabulary.FOAF allows groups of people to describe social networks without the need for a centralized database.The Person Browser in their sample demo shows the implementation of the feature.Simal has REST API providing a high level means of accessing the data stored in the registry.

The integration of OpenSocial API and gadgets availability can make the application more widespread.The Simal Web module provides an open social container.Simal uses Shindig which is a refernce implementation of Open Social Standard.

Simal is utilizing the social semantic nature of web (termed web 3.0 ?) to make the open source revolution more powerful.

What about Simal used in large software companies ? Project repository cataloging that could give information about projects,people team, their social networks,projects done with other organizations.Simal will become a powerful utility in developing next generation project management and enterprise applications.

See demo

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