Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My book is almost done

I just sent in Chapter 15 for "Scripting Intelligence for Web 3.0" to Apress yesterday. Now I just have to review some final edits. This has been a very fun book to write, and I must admit some sadness over finishing this project and having to move on. I cover a wide range of topics: text processing (NLP), Semantic Web and linked data, strategies for deploying Semantic Web applications, several strategies for implementing search, "scaling up", use of Hadoop for distributed data crunching (with material on using Amazon's Elastic MapReduce), etc.

One of the examples in my book is a rewrite of something that I have been playing around with for years using Common Lisp with WebActions and Portable AllegroServe: a personal system for keeping track of things of interest. I took years of sporadic Lisp hacking, took some of the best ideas, and ended up with a concise Rails application. I am thinking of writing a third iteration of this and making it public: I have a placeholder web app MyThingsOfInterest.com running on the Java edition of App Engine. I need to spend a few weeks clearing a backlog of customer work and then I want to take a crack at version 3. In the last couple of years, I have been doing a lot of Rails web UI programming using the Rails AJAX helpers and some custom Javascript. I don't have very much experience with GWT so working on MyThingsOfInterest.com will be a good excuse to study GWT and compare it with using Rails. The App Engine is an interesting platform and I think it is a fun challenge working within a software stack that limits developer options in return for high efficiency and very low hosting costs. The first thing I need to work out is implementing local search on top of JDO and the non-relational data store. Using Lucene is not a possibility, but it should be fairly easy to support full word and prefix match search on top of JDO.