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RE: [Catacomb] Catacomb and CMS



Hi David,

Sorry for the slow reply -- combination of end of the quarter, and an IETF
meeting.

> Hi there. I have been working on educational modules for a content
> management system and am new to webDAV and Catacomb. The content
> management system (CMS) I am working with uses a mySQL database
> backend.  I have read the literature on the project and I believe there
> could be a fit with what I am trying to do. I am hoping to use Catacomb
> and WebDav as a means of storing collaborative project data for course
> development as well as storing learning objects and their metadata.

This sounds like a good match to me. WebDAV provides a common interface that
can be used by multiple people and applications authoring learning objects.

> I want the CMS to create a project folder for each project that
> collaborators would use to share for their work. When projects are
> complete, I want the CMS to "publish" from a project folder and store
> the learning objects and their metadata so they can be easily searched,
> found and recombined in the CMS. What I am looking for is some
> direction and suggestions for structuring something that could work.

What you are proposing could be accomplished by adding some workflow
functionality on top of an existing WebDAV repository. Open source WebDAV
servers typically don't have any workflow capabilities, but since they
support arbitrary properties on resources, you can store workflow state in
these properties.

> What kind of a tool would I use to add a project files and folders from
> a CMS through the WebDAV server?  A similar method would be needed to
> extract the final project information from the project folder when the
> project will be published.
> I am programming in PHP.

Well, I have two thoughts on how you can proceed. One is to build on top of
Zope <www.zope.org>, which has WebDAV capabilities built-in. Zope has a lot
of support for building custom content management capabilities.

The other thought is to take an existing DAV server, like Catacomb or
straight mod_dav, and build your capabilities on top of that. This might
take the form of modifications to the server code, or you might develop a
custom workflow client.

> Could searches using DASL be tailored to specific areas of the
> repository?  For example, in the same repository restrict searches to a
> folder containing learning objects as opposed to those containing
> project data. Would you recommend isolating these into separate
> repositories as opposed in a single repository.

Yes, this is a native capability of DASL.

> Can metadata be added to the records to extend search capabilities to
> include information relevant to the learning objects. At this time, I
> am working with IMS and CanCore metadata in learning objects and and
> wish to find objects using this criteria as well.

Yes, any WebDAV resource can have arbitrary properties (metadata) defined on
it.

- Jim