Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt
crschmidt

Colloborative Editing

Colloborative editing with SubEthaEdit is an interesting experience. I'd been told this before but had never had the oppourtunity to experience it myself. So, tonight I put a call out to my semantic web friends: I'm creating an RDF schema. Help me out.

Most of the response I got was negative: Why are you using SubEthaEdit? What's wrong with other tools? I pointed out to them that there were no similar tools, and no ports to any other operating systems, and they could either use SEE or not, but there was no other solution.

Eventually, I whined in #swhack on Freenode: This is no fun. No one is editing this document with me.

Immediately, two people joined me in editing the document, and that's when things started to get fun. kpreid and eaon both hopped in and started tossing things in. After reading through what I had so far, they started adding things in and suggesting changes to what I was working on. Correcting each other's work, working through examples, and doing our best to create a usable schema, I know that I learned a lot, both about RDF and about colloboration.

There is absolutely nothing better than having someone looking over your shoulder editing your code - without them even needing to stand over your shoulder. I can have someone watching my every line of text - and catching my every mistake - without needing to deal with the physical invasion of privacy that such typically involves.

At the same time, I have the working knowledge of three people, rather than one. With every term, node, and description, I can ask the two people watching over my shoulder, "Is this right?" I no longer need to worry about making a stupid mistake about the name of something, and can instead have two other sets of eyes checking over my work.

I can have interactive conversations determining the best way to do something or go about it - right inside the document. I can move onto another block of code, while others can correct and look over what I just wrote.

We can have discussions on the best way to go about something - then, once an agreement is reached, we can head right into making it happen. The benefits of this are obvious when editing large files: three different people can each go a seperate direction to select, update, and correct the now incorrect statements.

In a span of just two or three hours, I went through and created a well developed schema, including several major changes to the way it was written and laid out, all the while learning and developing my skills in RDF with two intelligent mentors at my side. With the collaborative efforts of these two, I was able to put together something I'm proud of in just a few hours - without searching for links, without going crazy.

SubEthaEdit is a very impressive utility, and together with kpreid and eaon I was able to create a usable RDF schema. Next step is to create a large base set of examples for this schema. However, tonight, I was able to effectively create information in a way that was quick, and easy. That's just cool.

If you'd like to see the document we created, and you're on Mac OS X, you can download SubEthaEdit, then open menow.rdf. (It's set to read only overnight.) If you'd like to add examples, you can use the schema at http://crschmidt.net/foaf/menow/menow.rdf , viewable as plain text to edit the examples document I just created.


SubEthaEdit is cool. Now if only someone could move it to other platforms.
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