Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

April 23, 2004

Fruits of recent labour

Yesterday a site about the poetry of William Golder was launched. This is the site I have been working on recently, and which uses a topic map behind the scenes to handle the connections between the various resources. It doesn’t operate as well as it might, in terms of providing detailed information about a resource being linked to, though partly that is through a lack of useful metadata about the resources. The CSS could do with an overhaul also, and not just to accomodate Internet Explorer’s shortcomings.

In any case, it was a fun project to work on and I hope it proves of interest and use to others. When the remaining texts are available, along with their associated resources, the relationships between the various resources should become quite interesting in themselves.

Posted by jamie at 12:46+12:00 | Comments (4) | Permalink

April 22, 2004

Miscellanea

Yay, my Mozilla bug is fixed! Sanskrit users rejoice that one more font problem is out of the way.

To follow a meme from corollary, here’s the fifth (complete) sentence on page xxiii of An Introduction to Old Norse by E. V. Gordon: Only men between the ages of eighteen and fifty were admitted; no women were allowed inside the fortress; all booty was divided according to rule, and none might remain in the fellowship who at any time showed fear. If it must be page 23, then the sentence is: Ok nú fara þeir í brott frá jarðhúsinu einhvern dag ok kuma at bœ Siggeirs konungs síð um aptan ok ganga inn í forstofuna, þá er var fyrir hǫllinni; en þar váru inni ǫlker, ok leynask þar. I think I would have had better luck with the next book down in the pile, whose sentence might have been Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. (but which in fact wasn’t).

I’ve started a mad, rash and foolish attempt to use topic maps to assemble a hypertext essay out of strands of arguments/points/evidence. It will surely be an interesting failure.

Posted by jamie at 21:57+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

April 18, 2004

Java error messages

I’d just like to complain bitterly for a moment about the error messages that the Java applications I am using for a current project provide. They are useless! I get TMNav saying:

TopicMapProviderException. Caused by: . Cause: org.tm4j.topicmap.TopicMapProcessingException: Invalid XML document. Parser reports: java.lang.ClassCastException
        at org.tm4j.topicmap.TopicMapProviderBase.addTopicMap(TopicMapProviderBase.java:293)
        at org.tm4j.topicmap.memory.TopicMapProviderImpl.addTopicMap(TopicMapProviderImpl.java:259)
        at org.tm4j.panckoucke.impl.store.MapLoaderThread.run(MapLoaderThread.java:81)

when in fact the document is valid. So not only is the error message unhelpful, it’s also wrong (unless there’s a bug in my validator, but I find that less likely than the other possibility).

Then there is Apache Cocoon which gives stack traces and all sorts of other goodies, none of which generally give any useful indication of what caused the problem.

Right, I’ll now go back to banging my head against my screen.

Posted by jamie at 15:36+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

April 14, 2004

Topic Map initiation

I have been doing a little work using XML Topic Maps to store information for use by a website. Although at this stage my topic map, derived from a few sources, is fairly simple, it could easily grow into a monster which will make using XPath to navigate through it horribly convoluted. And if you thought (and I know some of you do) XML was verbose, you haven’t seen anything: topic maps takes the inherent verbiage of XML and adds a layer of exponentially worse verbiage.

That isn’t particularly a criticism, by the way: it so far makes no difference to me how big the topic map file is, because it is automatically generated and there are much slower parts of the Apache Cocoon pipeline than that piece of it. And it’s neat stuff; indeed, the biggest annoyance with using a topic map is the desire to use it for the whole site (which would make sense, but is infeasible at the moment since the site goes live soon) rather than only a part of it.

I can easily see how one could become evangelical about the subject. Topic maps are one of those technologies that is is possible to advance as the solution to a whole host of problems without seeming utterly ridiculous. On the other hand, I’m not about to use them for any of my personal web sites, so I may be safe.

Posted by jamie at 22:12+12:00 | Comments (3) | Permalink