[LibX] LibX future plans

LibX Project libx.org at gmail.com
Sat Sep 23 14:42:26 EDT 2006


To follow up on the thread LibX vs. Conduit, I'd like to make a few
points as to where we, the developers of LibX, see LibX is going.

First, LibX - unlike Conduit - is Open Source as defined by the Open
Source Initiative (OSI) - see opensource.org. As such, anybody can
take the code, add the features they want, and redistribute it -
without even having to tell us.

Second, we pursue an open source development model. We have received
several contributions from users and developers which we have
integrated into LibX. This is the classical open source model in which
you back your arguments with code.

Third, we are open to contributions that aren't code, such as testing,
suggestions, and money. If a library wants to give a small grant to
help with LibX development, this would be very welcomed.

Finally, as for the technical arguments:

- We would like to have an IE version, and are pursueing one, subject
to the items mentioned in First & Second above.

- We would like to have an online, web-based configuration &
maintenance interface, also subject to the same constraints.

- This web-based interface will likely have two modes, a normal user
mode and an expert mode. In expert mode, you upload an configuration
file from which the edition is build. The file format will be XML,
based on a DTD that we'll publish. A draft is already at
http://libx.org/xml/libxconfig.dtd

- We don't think that a design in which the toolbar constantly pulls
for changes provides significant benefits. Aside from the fact that
this would require the toolbar to "phone home" on startup, we do not
expect library interfaces to change very frequently. So while this is
not something we'd rule out, we would probably not include it in the
first draft. Instead, a new edition would be tested, and then pushed
out over Firefox's automatic updates.

- Extensibility by adapters/edition maintainers: people have asked if
custom features can be included. Two comments about that: 1., LibX is
already very customizable. 2. LibX is Open Source, allowing extension
by everybody (see above.) The trade-off is this: if we add a features
that can be configured through LibX's options, it has to be
maintained.  We only add features that either don't require much
maintenance, or that many users request. If you need more, download
LibX, add them, and build your own edition locally, as some libraries
have done.

- Related to extensibility is the ability to add custom searches. The
recently added extended bookmarklet functionality provides a big
increase in flexibility in this area. See catalog1 in the UC Libraries
(Melvyl) edition for an example. We will refine this functionality as
needed.

 - Godmar


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