Enabling cooperation on projects
The year 2009 went through and there was almost no new content published at the website. Visitors might have thought that the website and the project of publishing First Book of Homer's Iliad in Classics Unlocked format were abandoned.
The truth is contrary to this. The year was very productive for the website. Missing parts of both the Platform and Ebook application were added and now these sections of the website are fully functional. If the aim of the website were to be the place of the publishing efforts of one individual, then it would be possible to continue with he project of publishing First Book of Homer's Iliad in Classics Unlocked format. But the aim of the website is more ambitious - to enable cooperative work of the groups of individuals on different projects. During first project - First Book of Homer's Iliad in Classics Unlocked format - although being pursued by one individual, the ways how such cooperation will proceed should be explored.
Enabling cooperation on projects is in essence support for several different roles. It seems that at least two roles should be introduced: Project admins who would be responsible for certain project, e.g. for the project of publishing First Book of Homer's Iliad in Classics Unlocked format, and Project contributors who would be responsible for one or a couple of aspects of the project, e.g. for Commentary or Dictionary. In-built role management functionality of ExpressionEngine CMS which powers Classics Unlocked website does not satisfy the needs of cooperative workflow on our publishing projects. It means that the only way to achieve needed role management functionality is using add-ons for ExpressionEngine.
Writing add-ons enabling role management is what I have been doing for the last couple of months. At least four new add-ons need to be written and one adapted to the needs of the website. This will bring the number of add-ons used on Classics Unlocked website to more than sixty! That's a very big number which illustrates pretty well the sheer complexity of the backend. I have never thought that supporting the publishing of ebooks in Classics Unlocked format might be such techically complex undertaking. Here some good words should be said about ExpressionEngine CMS. If not for its flexibility and extensibility hardly anything like website's Platform and Ebook application sections would be possible.
Building Classics Unlocked website proceeds slowly but has clear aims and vision. I hope that the comming 2010 year will be the one when it will be possible to switch from solving technical problems to publishing content.