For some time I have been concerned about presenting all the materials on this site in a commercially more robust form, and these opportunities would apply to anyone with whom I would collaborate:
Books could be displayed in Adobe Acrobat reader, with footnotes showing on the same pages as the applicable text. Extended footnotes (the “consolidated footnote files” for the Do Ask Do Tell:” book could be included, with the longest notes added as more appendices. The books could be updated periodically (every several months). Adobe books would probably be free (and would have to meet any “harmful to minors” legislation in effect when COPA is finally resolved). To be most effective, books should be typeset with an advanced publishing package like QuarkXpress.
Books could also be formatted for commercial e-book readers, and downloaded with credit cards (possibly through as service like cc-now). The credit card requirement might be sufficient for shielding any “legally harmful-to-minors content” from minors.
Some of the material on this site lends itself to relational database storage. These include political arguments and counterarguments by topic, and book and movie reviews and bibliographies, as well as the canonical analysis of our “Bill of Rights 2” material.
Industry (mainly Sun, Microsoft, and IBM as well as database companies like Oracle) has been building integrated environments to house this facility.
The aim of such an environment is to let the user request the information desired by some kind of topic or key (like a movie name, an author’s name, or political subject) and retrieve the information in a professional-looking format on the web or possibly in print or overheads.
Here is a rough outline of the pieces needed to do this in a java environment
· An SQL database with a URL
· A form feeding the request (might use jsp, or applets with GET and POST commands and HTTP tunneling)
· A stored procedure creating a temporary table corresponding to the form request
· A dbQuery
· A servlet able to convert the request to an XML document with a document definition (DTD) for reference)
· A servlet (probably different, probably an XSLT class) able to parse the XML document (with DOM or SAX, for example) and, with the references to an XSL style sheet (possibly related to the end user) able to format the web page in a human-readable and useful fashion (tailored to the user and possibly to the company or other business or organizational entity associated with the user)
DB2 (IBM) and Oracle provide interfaces between relational databases and XML (which can be a challenge because of the “tree structure: of XML).
With Microsoft .NET the overall concept is similar, but
· java roughly equates to C# or other languages chosen by the developer
· JSP equates to ASP+ although JSP’s might not be used as much as straight servlets to communicate to the XML
· java Swing (for graphics) equates to Microsoft Web forms
· The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) runs on any platform )such as Apple GMAC) whereas the Microsoft environment requires Windows 2000 (or XP Pro), IID or IL Common Language Runtime
· Beans (with jsp) and XML libraries correspond to ADO+ and SOAP in Microsoft
Even a high-level view of this shows some difficulty. This is all new, and very few programmers have the hands-on command of all of this. This corresponds with a general problem noted in I.T.: most “programmer analysts” are having to become more entrenched with specific businesses or move into management to remain marketable, while the “super geeks” with their manipulative “competitive” curiosity keep up with this technology moving at an amazing pace, even during recession.
The Microsoft Visual Studio .NET product family provides an integrated development environment for building social-political databases and Web-based (or internally networked without web) applications to access and manipulate them. The basic development environment allows the content presenter to build user GUI screens (either for an internal environment or web) with appropriate properties, classes and methods to display and update data. For doaskdotell.com, most of the data consists of bibliographic references (more or less like “products” and “customers”) and argument information (based on these references, more or less like “orders”). This kind of information can be stored in a variety of database products, such as Access (simplest), and Microsoft SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, or Oracle (for larger commercial implementation). The modern facility for database access will be ADO.NET; robust commercial implementation would usually require all of the facilities of the Enterprise Edition of Visual Studio .NET (for advanced database binding and development tools). To display and manipulate the political and bibliographic information on the web for the customer, the modern facility is ASP.NET, for web-based applications. This requires an operating system like XP Professional (or sufficient implementation of Windows 2000). The information may be converted to XML and displayed with an XSL style sheet. If information is to be manipulated by the customer, it may be appropriate to develop XML web services. XML (and SOAP) would be used to pass bibliographic database information to other organizations.
Much of the XML and data access functionality is achievable in a simpler environment, with FrontPage 2003 on an XP platform, with the new SharePoint facility. However this would not handle user application logic.
Marty Hall and Larry Brown, Core Web Programming, Second Edition, Sun Microsystems Press, 2001.
Michael C. Daconta and Al Saganich, XML Development with Java 2: Portable Data, Portable Code, SAMS, 2000.
Jim Farley, Oreillly: “Microsoft .NET vs. .J2EE: How Do They Stack Up?” (2001) http://java.oreilly.com/news/farley_0800.html
Several screenplay ideas have been proposed elsewhere on this site for documenting the gradual historical progress towards a “Bill of Rights 2.” A database engine with style sheets could generate stills that could be used in such a film.
Depiction of the “Bill of Rights 2” might require assembling a sizable number of people in a convention-like setting, with flashback anecdotes that illustrate the principles to be discussed. Many of these could be staged and filmed in miniDV and edited with iMovie, or preferably FinalCut (Mac) or Premiere (Windows 2000 only, not XP yet) in conjunction perhaps with Targa 3000 cards for advanced editing.and higher end G4 mac for real-time editing. However the iMac iMovie is satisfactory for most scenes.