The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Posts Tagged ‘tools’

The Story of the Planet Platform

Posted by yishaym on March 31, 2009

True to the dogfood principle, we now have a case study on the development of the Planet platform. An amazing tale on international mystery and intrigue. Well, maybe not – but if you’re working in a UK HE institure and thinking of launching an ambitious web2.0 project, you might find our experience informative.

Or, if you have been involved in a similar project, we would be curious to know: does this resonate with your experiece?

Its all there (in brief): the original plan, what went smoothly, what went wrong, and where we are at the end of the day. Enjoy!

Posted in about us, announcements, case studies, code, notes from the field, reporting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“language” attribute on patterns?

Posted by yishaym on October 16, 2008

Our cases have a “group / workshop” attribute. This is because we collect them from various communities, and the participants in these communities want to quickly find their peer’s contributions. We didn’t have a similar attribute for patterns, thinking that the whole point of patterns is to promote generality and knowledge transfer. Now, that is still true, yet on the other hand we can see several distinguishable (if not distinct) languages emerging. Patterns for e-Assessment are a cluster apart from HCI patterns etc. After all, this is the pattern language network.
So, should we add a “language” attribute to patterns? Should it be single or multiple choice?

Posted in code, musings, tools, user group | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

PatternSeer and the Planet platform: this looks like the beginning of a wonderful friendship

Posted by yishaym on July 16, 2008

I met Ademar Aguiar at EuroPLoP last week (note to self: need to report on the conference, it was a great event). Ademar is a long-standing member of the pattern community and something of a WikiGuru, he’s one of the organizers of WikiSym, but I’m digressing.

Ademar and his students are working on, which is a web2.0-esk clearing house for all things pattern. PatternSeer allows you to submit design patterns and pattern related papers, rate them, discuss them and share them. Needless to say, it allows you to search across sites.

This covers just about everything that the Planet platform doesn’t do. We provide a structured participatory methodology for developing patterns and pattern languages, and the authoring tools to support that. We’re strong on the editing and storage, but pathetic on the social aspects and cross-site search.

This has mashup written all over it. We need a pattern language interchange API, which would allow PatternSeer to crawl the Planet platform and the the Planet platform to piggy-back on PatternSeer for search and social features. And here’s the first shot at a project spec.

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Guest post: Justin Smith on “Collaborative Thinking for a Pattern-Based Knowledge System”

Posted by yishaym on April 21, 2008

Justin runs a blog called Designing a Sustainable World. He’s also involved in the Liberating Voices! project, which has been a great inspiration for me. Over the last few weeks, we’ve come to realize that there’s a lot in common between what we’re planning for our system, and what he’s hoping to develop for his projects. I thought the best way to share our thoughts and broaden the circle of discussion is to invite him to do a guest post on our blog. So without further ado, I give you Justin Smith:

So for the last year or so following the conclusion of a research project focused on a socio-technical pattern language (Liberating Voices!) I have been left thinking of ways in which patterns could be made more accessible to a broader audience. One of the many ideas that came to the fore of my attention was that pattern language users need more appropriate technical systems, specifically designed to support pattern development, and perhaps more importantly, pattern use for real-world problem solving. This perceived need was a central outcome of the research, and has prompted further investigation leading me into a PhD program where I could focus my attention specifically on addressing this issue.

About a year ago I had the honor of running into Yishay Mor (virtually) on a mailing list dedicated to pattern languages. Based off of our subsequent conversations it quickly became apparent that many of our ideas and interests were parallel, even though his work is centered on education, whereas mine is focused on natural resource management. Nevertheless, over the past several months we have continued to uncover increasing similarities in our ideas for promoting and developing pattern based systems.

Now, in the past few days an interesting conversation has developed. He and a group of colleagues have been actively mapping out the specs for creating just such a system, following their own research outcomes. Recognizing that we are essentially working on the same project we have begun to share some ideas. With that in mind I have put together a synthesis of some of these conversations.

In addition to the things that have already been defined as necessary components for the system, we have come up with some other things to consider.

1.) Patterns as Hubs, where case studies are linked as evidence for a particular pattern, as well as case studies linked to provide insight into how pattern users applied specific patterns and the outcomes associated with the work.

2.) Pattern Visualization (with several different approaches to include: mind-maps, concept maps and influence diagrams)

3.) Versioning to track the evolution of visualized pattern maps (addition to current versioning of text-based patterns)

4.) Ability to provide geographic boundaries to place based patterns (GIS/Google Maps?)

5.) Ranking of pattern relevance to specific forces/context to aide in pattern searching (similar to an Expert System)

6.) Parallel Development of Django/Google Appengine based version of the proposed system

7.) Interchangeable API between Appengine pattern system and Java based pattern system (enable easy communication between pattern systems built on different platforms)

By adding these pieces to the specs or at least in reiterating the importance of the pieces already described in the system, we can hopefully construct an application that can be usable across multiple domains. In this sense, by providing a range of capabilities this system could be just as useful for people working in the education field as for those working in natural resource management. Following an implementation of these components or at least some derivation of them, it will then be useful to see how such a system supports the work of educators and resource managers.

Justin G. Smith
Research Assistant,
Washington State University
Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology


Posted in code, musings, related projects | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

watch this space

Posted by yishaym on March 28, 2008

Twine is looking like the first real world web3.0 (aka semantic web, aka ggg) service. Twine introduces itself as –

a new service that helps you organize, share and discover information around your interests, with networks of like-minded people. You can use Twine individually, with friends, or with groups, teams and communities.

yawn. been there, done that. right? except that Twine is semantic. It –

… automatically organizes information, learns about interests and makes recommendations. The more you use Twine, the better it gets to know you and the more useful it becomes.

In Twine not all tags are equal. A book’s author’s name is not the same as the place he lives or the organization he’s affiliated with. And not all things are equal, a book is not a bookmark, is not a video about it. Twine distinguishes between things, and tries to display content appropriately to its type. It also tries, with some success, to guess types tags and categories. Really interesting stuff. And it’ll be even more interesting when they get it to work properly (they’re not that far).

Another intersting thing about it is that everything is a twine, which is a kind of stream of stuff, and you can tune to, create and interleave many twines. So there’s the stuff I share with my family, the stuff I share with my office friends, the stuff I share with my highschool mates. There are some overlaps and cross-connections and I can manage them all by routing items to twines and inviting people to listen to the relevant threads.

A fresh approach, but is it too complex? It looks like its been designed for networked minds. Those of us who have been to all the twitters and pownces and are ready to move on. How many are there? And will our normal friends be able to follow a single twine, ignoring the rest? Time will tell.

Planet, of course, is dog-food principle compliant and has its twine.

(first published on Yishay’s blog)

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Technical infrustructure presentation

Posted by yishaym on January 24, 2008

This is a presentation I gave at the launch event, proposing some guidelines for our technical infrustructure. By and large, these where adopted by the project.

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