From alpha to beta

With the year 2014 the winter has finally came to Finland. In addition to that, we have development running at full speed. Our target is to hit the beta release at the beginning of March. The roadmap is a combination of user feedback from earlier agile sprints and specifications made during Capture project. The main focus with the beta sprint is on the user interface, search and indexing, ingest and management of the data. All the core features are in place already since alpha release, but it required some knowledge and good understanding on how things are in the early stages of software development.

I will post some previews of the user interface later. The interface will be in English and Finnish. It can be localized and customized easily to support your desired language, regional preferences and organization policies. Effort is also put into making the interface user friendly. Since the early pre-alpha versions, we have iterated the user interface development with the designated users. Stay tuned for the interface mockups or even screenshots.

Searching and indexing will be implemented mainly with Solr. It is the de facto open source engine for this kind of content. Also Finna (nice user interface for accessing Finnish archives, libraries and museums) uses Solr. Traditionally Finnish has been somewhat tricky language but now we can have a good support and we can benefit from open source work done already. We have a working integration in between our data repository (Fedora Commons) and Solr but we need to work on indexing metadata and rich text contents and building end-user features. We will build a new kind of search and browse interface based on faceting and visualizing the data instead of just an empty search box waiting for you to know what you need to input. Of course the Google-like search box will be there also if you like it better.

The third large sprint is to ready the tools for ingest and management of the archive data. We will build a workspace that will contain pre-ingest and discovery tools, manual ingest, workflows and batch ingest as well as management of the existing data. Again, we will make it highly configurable and suitable for ingesting data of any kind; Not just documents or strictly formatted metadata. For beta and pilot phases, we will introduce only reference features but they can be extended and will be well documented.

Lastly, the simple workflow engine has been now completed and will be published as a standalone project on Github later this year. The developer, Heikki Kurhinen, wrote it for the project as his thesis work. The engine will be featured in later article as soon as we get it integrated with our main software.

I will write more on the topics introduced as our team progresses.



About Mikko Lampi

I'm an open-minded technologist interested in data, design, software, business and a better future. I work as a Research Manager at the Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences.
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