It’s been a month since I started the project, so it seems like a good place to pause and summarize where everything is. The goal is to replace Facebook. The minimum viable product is, first, a feed reader - whose most important feature is that a user doesn’t know it’s a feed reader. The user just “follows” people and organizations, just like on Facebook, and things magically appear on her feed/wall, just like on Facebook.

It’s also standards-based, because there’s no point in replacing Facebook with another silo. That doesn’t entirely matter until the blogging side of things is in place, but the triplestore is there under the hood.

The repo still doesn’t really have a functioning app yet, but it’s out there in the world mostly to keep me accountable.

At one point, the critter could actually read Atom and RSS feeds and put them in the triplestore (and the ActivityPub inbox), but I’ve taken that apart again and that’s been my focus lately: a robust, extensible system to retrieve wild data and process it into proper Linked Data. Syndication feeds, being already XML, should require the least processing but of course it turns out that CPAN libraries are mostly geared toward getting those feeds farther from machine-readable instead.

So here’s where I’m at on things it does and needs to do for MVP:

  • read a basic bootstrap config file, or guess at basic defaults based on hostname, username, and a default permanent store
  • bootstrap a basic website
  • allow feeds to be added to and deleted from the subscription list
  • poll Atom/RSS/JSON/RDF feeds and add any new entries to the feed and to the subscriber’s inbox
  • allow entries to be deleted from the inbox (“mark read”)
  • import (or export) OPML
  • serve inbox as linked data in JSON/Turtle/XML/etc. format

Emphasized items are incomplete or nonexistent.

On a tangentially related note: I visited a Philadelphia Perl Mongers meeting last night, since the topic was Linked Data. The speakers described building the Global Change Information System which, of course, runs on something a little more powerful than a Raspberry Pi, and for an audience a little more tech-savvy than my hypothetical end users. It was still pretty interesting, if for no other reason than it was good to hear that somebody other than People In 2007 are actively developing these things, even if not in the particular ontologies I’m working with.


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