Protocols for the Two-Way Web

Dave Winer is giving a talk on May 9. In his abstract, he asks “how can we connect rich editing tools like outliners, word processors and graphics programs with content management systems running on the back end, so that it’s easy for users, and gives them the best tools that we know how to design?”

Dave outlines the 4 key protocols:

1. XML-RPC and SOAP for connecting tools to back-ends.
2. RSS for syndication and aggregation.
3. OPML for hierarchic navigation.
4. The MetaWeblog API to allow tools a way to work with all back-ends.

In fact, this is the topc I am exploring in more detail in my Memex series – not as much for designers, but for all of us in terms of information management.

Routing for Web Services

Phillip Windley writes about Level 5 Routing – “the advent of standards for application integration has brought us to the point where applications can be put together by scripting calls to existing services.” He envisions the routing architecture to do the following functions:

– Service Call Switching
– Filtering Based on Context
– Event Monitoring
– Logging
– Service Facades
– Business Rules Repository

Search Engine Visibility

Line56.com has a discussion on the importance of showing up at the top of the results done via search engines. A quick look at access logs for many sites will show an increasingly significant portion of the traffic coming via search engines. That is why, especially for SMEs, search engine optimisation (especially for Google) is important.

Real-Time Intelligence

InfoWorld writes how “BI (business intelligence) and enterprise application vendors are turning to analytic tools in an attempt to energize the supply chain.”

Companies including SAS, Cognos, Business Objects, and Informatica have unveiled supply-chain analytics designed to expose data otherwise isolated in the enterprise supply chain.

In an environment where cost control and profitability are dominating IT decision-makers agendas, analysts observe that BI companies are aiming to leverage history in managing supply-chain performance.

Continue reading

TECH TALK: Constructing the Memex: A Personal View

For much of the period from 1997-1999, I too was a player in the directory and search business. My company, IndiaWorld Communications, had launched Indias first search engine, appropriately titled khoj in March 1997. (Since November 1999, khoj has been part of Sify, following its acquisition of IndiaWorld.)

The problem I set out to solve in March 1997 was that of India-centricity in search. Yahoo was then the de facto king. It would take a long time to get sites registered into its directory. When one did a search, it was difficult to get India-centric results Yahoo covered the world, but there were times when one wanted to limit the results to ones local context. I also realised then that search was one of the key attractors on the Internet. As new people came online, they needed to know which sites to visit. As new sites get launched, they needed a place to list them to tell the surfers. This is what khoj set out to solve.

We launched khoj on the second anniversary of the launch of IndiaWorld. We positioned it as the Indian alternative to Yahoo. Heres an extract from our press release (sourced from Google Groups):

Finding Indian Web sites just got easier. IndiaWorld, India’s largest Web site, has launched khoj, an online directory of over 800 India-related Web sites. khoj catalogues the Web sites into 11 primary categories, and has a multi-level classification system for business, education, entertainment, news and government. “Khoj” is a Hindi word which means “search.”

“Think of khoj as the Indian alternative to Yahoo. It will help people worldwide find Indian resources, information and companies much more easily. khoj is the first Asian venture on such a large scale,” said Rajesh Jain.

I remember sitting up for about two weeks prior to the launch going through a catalogue of Indian sites and classifying them one-by-one on a slow link to the Internet. In fact to make classification easier, we had written a program to get the top pages of various sites and store them offline in our office so that classification did not necessarily need a real-time connection to the Internet.

It was this crawling of pages that gave us the idea to add a search engine to the khoj directory. This way, people had three ways to find sites: navigate the directory, search the website descriptions in the directory, and get results from the actual cached pages of the Indian sites. This combination is what helped khoj become extremely popular and made it the top-ranked Indian search engine.

Tomorrow: Whats Missing

Continue reading