The most recently released, stable version of Scriblio is marked 2.9-r1 and was last updated in June 2010. You can be forgiven for thinking development had ceased in the interim. Today, however, I’m proud to introduce a completely new Scriblio, re-written from the ground up to take advantage of the latest features of WordPress and eliminate the mistakes made in previous versions.
This update allows users to search and explore WordPress sites using facets that represent the tags, categories and other aspects of the collection. It works with custom post types and custom taxonomies, and works for library records as well regular blog posts and pretty much anything else that can be represented in the posts table (and there are people putting business directories, classified ads, vacation rentals, job boards, real estate, and lots of other stuff in their posts tables).
Review the code now:
- Browse: http://plugins.trac.wordpress.org/browser/scriblio/trunk/
- Anonymous SVN: http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/scriblio/trunk/
Because this is entirely rewritten it deserves all-new documentation. First, however, I need to explain that a number of features of the old Scriblio are not yet implemented in this version. In some cases this is because WordPress now offers similar features and it’s better to use those, in other cases it’s because they’re just not implemented yet.
This 2007 screenshot shows most of the public-facing search features (view it in Flickr for annotations):
- Display facets in widgets, clicking a term in the facet re-runs the search with that facet added
- Display the the terms of the current search and allow users edit them
- Suggest search terms based on the facets in the corpus as users type in the search box
- Render book records in HTML with cover images
- Display the availability and shelf location of the book
- Display links to Google Book Search and other resources related to the book
- Allow users to send an SMS with the book’s shelf location
And behind the scenes, Scriblio had some rather complex functionality to support those features:
- Crawl library database systems to extract book info for bulk imports, ongoing updates, and real-time status information
- Implement structured data on top of WordPress posts to represent books, archive records, and other media
- Replaced WordPress’ built-in query parsing that gets matching content from the database
- Support for using Sphinx as the keyword search engine instead of MySQL
For the purposes of this rewrite, I’ve been focusing only on the components related to searching and browsing a collection. In my 2009 diagram of the components, that’s the box with the Scriblio logo in it. Of that component, I see two features missing: live searching and user-specified sort ordering (this was implemented in 2.9, but never released publicly). I have not yet looked at the other components to determine the complexity of migrating them. Anybody, if there is anybody, who’s currently using Scriblio with those components SHOULD NOT UPGRADE.
Some things that need to be done in the short term:
- Reconnect with current Scriblio users; get an understanding of the needs and interests of the community
- Migrate the main Scriblio website to a new server and document this new version of Scriblio there
- Implement search suggestions/live searching
- Implement user-controlled result sorting (sort by relevance, a-z, set the sort field, etc)
- Review the Scriblio Schema components and make a plan for how to move those forward
- [Name your plans for Scriblio here]