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Monday, July 21, 2003
By Paul Ford
Spinning the plates.
The Ftrain Sitekit (which will not be released for a month or two yet--and it's August, 2015 right now as I write this) is the code that is used to publish Ftrain.com, and in time, a few other sites. It has several notable features, including: complexity, a steep learning curve, and limited utility. It is based entirely on the technologies XML, which some people can tolerate, and XSLT2.0, which almost no one knows, and incorporates ideas from the Semantic Web initiative, Wikis, languages like Prolog, and weblogs.
Because every boy needs a hobby, I created the Ftrain Sitekit to explore the ways narrative structures and graph data structures overlap. I have an incomplete theoretical understanding of both narrative and graph theory, and the code and prose both show this. I write and program to learn--to do new things with stories, or do old things with stories in interesting ways. As a result of all that, this is not an easy system to work with unless you are willing to spend some time.
Which is a way to say: I would love it if you downloaded the code, read through the documentation, and started to play. But I can't help you more than a bit. If you want to improve on my work, to make it easier to create sites, more consistent, and more general, just tell me what you want to do and I'll do what I can to make it happen, and tell other people about it, and give you all the credit you desire.
Right now, everything is accomplished in XSLT; eventually, I would like to offload the entirety of the navigation/connection process to something like SWI-Prolog or XSB. In practice, this is not hard: simply generate a fact base using unique URIs, and query that fact base. In practice, I need to learn Prolog....