Discover remarkable things, in a remarkable way
By DaveLevy on Aug 29, 2007
One of the neat tools that are being incorporated into Sun's web site came from a product called slynkr, which the authors created a tag line, "discover remarkable things". Jamey Wood, the author blogs here, and there is a trial public version which I have been using to post news articles.
The public version's category list gives you an idea of the interests of the correspondnents/users of this trial, as does the tag page, which is pretty cluttered these days as there is no lower range threshold. But the tag page looks like this!
It is now open source and has a home at http://slynkr.dev.java.net/.
It is a database of URLs and comments. Basically there is a form to register a URL and users can vote, comment and tag the URLs. Slynkr will also browse del.icio.us to obtain any public tags on the URL. All this data is held in a database and can be viewed/consumed via HTML pages or RSS. (There is a query screen, that generates the RSS URL for filtered queries and one can for instance create an RSS feed for all your own posts, or those voted for by people). For instance I consume and republish my posts at slynkr at my planet as I don't always post these URLs to del.icio.us; I post those I want to read again to del.icio.us and those I want other's to read to slynkr. Actually, there's a bug in the way my aggregator consumes the RSS feed and I need to work out if its my planet, or the slynkr instance.
At first sight, it seems very similar to digg, but its now open source and allows a managed community. I think that federation would be a major asset in the product and now its open source, its in my hands, after I learn Java. Basically, it allows a follows/followed relationship and with strong categorisation and tagging functionality, people can build thier own relationships based on tag usage.
Digg though has some great visual representations of their RSS feed. See http://labs.digg.com and the three visual tools, big spy, stack and swarm.
Big Spy talks for itself, it represents on the screen in
real-time, which is good because digg is really busy. It optimises the display
for popular.Both size and colour are relevant.
Stack uses flash's animation to show the popularity of articles, votes drop in on the blobs and change colour, while the most recent articles are scrolled underneath the stack line.
Swarm is another representation that uses flash's animation to show the relationships between stuff and uses colour and grow/shrink on hover.
It would seem these are not open source, but I wonder how one might build such a thing.
Many apologies, I have used a table to format the html version of this blog, the pictures were taken on 25th August.