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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: [Summary] Dreams, RTs and getting the stuff done
Date Thu, 06 Dec 2001 00:03:14 GMT
Carlos wrote:

> > Stream of Thought #2: The perfect KMS
> > -------------------------------------
> >
> > KMS stands for "knowledge management system". It's a marketing buzzword
> > that indicates systems (mostly targetted for intranet use) that are
> > capable of managing and making available 'corporate knowledge', the
> > company information, in such a way that it's easily created, easily
> > published and easily accessible.
> >
> > A typical KMS is composed of:
> >
> > 1) a front-end
> > 2) a back-end
> > 3) a content-editing system
> > 4) a search engine
> > 5) an administration toolkit
> >
> > the idea is to come up with solid and open software solutions that
> > implement all the above key pieces, then sell the service to glue them
> > together for customer needs.
> Another use for this system is a Course Management System. I would love to
> have an Open Source Solution that is already going where most of the major
> commercial CMS vendors are going.

Oh, well, the KMS is only the first of my big projects :)

The next is an e-learning framework based on that KMS, plus time-based
user reaction statistical analysis and based on the concepts of
cognitive dissonance. My girlfriend and I spent entire nights talking
about how such a system should work. We have some very nice ideas, but
they are still very much up in the air.

> >
> > The map between those pieces and existing software is *far* from being
> > accomplished but we are heading in the right direction. My guesses are
> > for software mapping are:
> >
> > 1) front-end -> Cocoon
> > 2) back-end -> XIndice or a Cocoon-based CMS layer wrapping XIndice
> > 3) editing system -> ??? (Mozilla based inline editor being my best
> > guess)
> > 4) search-engine -> ??? (The lucene-based indexing appears a first step
> > in the right direction)
> 4.1 a user/data management layer where we can record and archive information
> about the users' interaction with the system. Perhaps as simple as a
> database that gets created for each instance.

In my vision, the e-learning framework is just a specialized KMS with
some additional functionalities in the front-end (advanced user tracking
and statistlical analysis), and some more metadata in the back-end
(course-specific metadata and cognitive trails indicators). And a
specific administration part.

But it wouldn't require changes in the overall architecture.

> > Stream of Thought #2.3: The content-editing system
> > --------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Following the SoC patterns, content should be edited and modified by
> > editors, people that have specific writing and authoring skills but
> > normally lack technical ones.
> >
> > For this reason, the editing system should require the little possible
> > effort and integrate seemlessly with the editing environment the persons
> > are used to.
> >
> > At the same time, the software should not give any more editing freedom
> > than what their concerns require. For this reason, a pure WYSIWYG
> > solution is considered harmful.
> >
> > The proposed solution is a constrained-WYSIWYG editing system that
> > allows visual feedback to help the writer contextualize the edited
> > content, thus simplifying the editing approach, but limits the editing
> > capability to those areas where writer is allowed/capable of working on.
> You lost me here. You're presuming that whoever works with this editor
> already has a skill set of, at least, HTML, correct?

Absolutely not. The editor simply types text in some areas where he/she
is allowed to. Also, if allowed, it could 'enhance' the text by using
'bold' and 'italic' or creating hyperlinks that are later trasformed
into semantic markup (strong for bold, emphasis for italic, xlink for
hyperlinks and so on)

Only the HTML designer will have to work on HTML, but I'm not concerned
about those editing needs since they are normally exercized at
site-construction time while content editing will performed for years
(or even decades!) by web-untrained people (which are *much* less
expensive than content writers with HTML skills!)

> I would love to see the results and help as much as I can, although I'm a
> very beginner Java programmer, I've always loved Cocoon as a concept and as
> an application

Oh, don't worry, even watching over our shoulders and sending
suggestions/comments is a great way of collaborating. In fact, without
feedback, the community dynamics wouldn't be stable and would diverge on
developers dream, loosing contact with reality and destroying the
project as a result.

Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<>                             Friedrich Nietzsche

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