Tim's Weblog
Tim Strehle’s links and thoughts on Web apps, software development and Digital Asset Management, since 2002.

My side projects in 2016

My blog is a mixture of musings on Digital Asset Management, programming stuff, and diary entries written mostly for myself. This is such a diary post, an update to my side projects in 2015.

The DAM Guru webinar Margaret Warren, Demian Hess and I had done on Linked Data in DAM had a lasting impression on me. I kept thinking about how to build a next-generation DAM system (and new DAM interoperability standards) by combining Semantic Web tech with microservices/Self-Contained Systems.

In January, Johannes Schmidt invited me to talk about these topics at the Hamburg office of DI UNTERNEHMER. I’m not sure they got much out of my talk, but I learnt a lot preparing it :) (One of my goals is to practice public speaking – previous talks were at an IPTC workshop and the vfm press archivists conference.)

Putting these theories in practice is impossible to do in my spare time. Luckily, I was given a bit more freedom at work and implemented the first version of a generic, JSON-LD + schema.org based API for searching internal and external DAM content sources.

I also wrote a few blog posts – check out the table of contents. According to visitor statistics, 2016’s most popular posts were:

  1. A dropdown for large lists in a Symfony 3 form with choice_loader and Select2
  2. Where’s the “9 to 5” hackathon?
  3. System architecture: Splitting a DAM into Self-Contained Systems
  4. Turn HTML into plain text with proper whitespace (in XSLT and PHP)
  5. Digital Asset Management resources
  6. Where do I put search result context in schema.org?

(A post from 2015 gets the most traffic, though: Counting word frequency using NLTK FreqDist(). Which is funny considering it’s the only Python code I ever wrote. Thanks to Roger Howard for his help!)

I started a new project with my monthly DAM Reading List (November, December, January). It’s quite a bit of work, but so far I enjoy forcing myself to read and curate.

The DAM Reading List feeds off my Planet DAM database. In 2016, I rewrote the Planet DAM site using the Symfony framework and added a search page, product pages, author pages, and site pages.

Planet DAM numbers have doubled since last year: As of today, there’s 3,673 articles in the database (on average, I’m adding 42 new articles per week), its Twitter account has 704 followers, and the Web site welcomes about 200 unique visitors per month. (I don’t have statistics on the RSS feed.) Thanks to Ralph Windsor for syndicating it on DAM News, and everyone else who sent kind words and shared links!

My pet programming project, the PHP Topic Maps engine TopicCards, is still not ready to be used by anyone but me (though it powers this blog and Planet DAM). But I did a lot of work on it, porting it from a SQL storage backend to the amazing Neo4j graph database. I hope 2017 will see a TopicCards beta release, but I’m not promising anything.

By the way, I moved my strehle.de Web site to HTTPS. It was easy to do and didn’t cost me any money because of the wonderful Let’s Encrypt. Highly recommended!

P.S.: I have another side project which now boasts 100,000 unique visitors per month – a database of German hymns that I have neglected for years. I should work a bit on that, too…